04/06/2012 1:01PM

Gulfstream: Wait a While may not be ideal fit for Distorted Legacy's return


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Distorted Legacy, beaten just a length in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, will finally launch her 2012 campaign in Sunday’s $70,000 Wait a While, the feature race on closing day of the 2011-12 Gulfstream Park meeting.

The Wait a While is carded to be run at 1 1/16 miles on turf. The race drew a field of 10 fillies and mares, including the red-hot Race to Urga and Speak Easy Gal, both of whom will share high weight of 121 pounds under the allowance conditions of the overnight stakes.

Distorted Legacy, who was beaten under a $50,000 claiming tag over the local course here last winter, posted her only two victories in 2011 on the main track, including a come-from-behind decision in the Sky Beauty at Belmont Park. But she really began to show marked improvement when returned to the grass and stretched out to 1 1/4 miles and beyond at the tail end of the season by trainer Angel Penna Jr.

Distorted Legacy first served notice she could be a force to reckon with in the division when she finished second behind Stacelita in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Handicap, a prelude to her performance in the Breeders’ Cup, in which she overcame a wide trip to finish a late-running fourth, just a length behind upset winner Perfect Shirl.

“She came out of the Breeders’ Cup physically sound but a week later she suddenly developed a high temperature so we gave her some time off,” said Penna. “I wanted to bring her back a little earlier this winter but the filly didn’t come around that quick and I didn’t want to rush her. I didn’t want to get the filly to a race, I wanted the race to get to the filly. Now is the time things start to become relevant, the rest of the year starts now.”

Penna said Distorted Legacy has trained forwardly for her return and expects her to run well although he feels the distance and course may work against his horse on Sunday.

“This is a filly who needs the right situation, a long distance, a little softer ground, and wide turns,” said Penna. “This race is a little short for her and the tight turns at Gulfstream can make it difficult for a come-from-behind horse. I think she’ll run good but it’s not the ideal situation.”

Race to Urga will bring a three-race win streak into the Wait a While, her last two victories coming here this winter against second- and third-level optional claiming competition. Race to Urga finished 10th following a very eventful trip in her only previous stakes opportunity, an overnight race decided over a yielding course last summer at Arlington Park.

Speak Easy Gal is coming off a fourth-place finish behind Snow Top Mountain after setting the pace, as usual, in the Grade 3 Suwannee River on Feb. 11. She also finished third two weeks earlier in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf.

Grade 2 stakes winner Dancinginherdreams will make her turf debut in the Wait a While for trainer John Ward Jr. Dancinginherdreams won a second-level optional claiming race on the main track here earlier this winter.