07/04/2007 12:00AM

Price Tag thrust into favorite's role

Benoit & Associates
Price Tag, winning her 2007 debut at Santa Anita, will be the favorite in the CashCall with the scratch of Wait a While.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The $1 million CashCall Mile at Hollywood Park on Friday will not include expected favorite Wait a While, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2006.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said on Wednesday that Wait a While had developed a temperature after being shipped to California on Tuesday. Wait a While had drawn post 3 and would have been favored to win her second stakes of the year.

The absence of Wait a While leaves the Grade 2 CashCall Mile, which is run on turf, with a field of nine, including the Grade 1 winners Dancing Edie and Price Tag, the improving Precious Kitten and three fillies or mares from Japan: Dia de la Novia, Kiss to Heaven, and Koiuta.

Price Tag, the winner of the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes over a mile on turf last fall, will assume the role of favorite.

Price Tag can claim a home-course advantage. Trained by Bobby Frankel for Juddmonte Farms, Price Tag won the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes over a mile on turf here last November, unleashing a furious rally to close from 12th in the final quarter-mile.

In her only stakes appearance this year, she finished second to stablemate Citronnade in the Grade 1 Gamely Breeders' Cup Stakes over 1o1/8 miles on turf on May 29, closing to within three-quarters of a length at the finish.

"She showed a good kick the other day, but the other horse had an easy lead," Frankel said.

Frankel expressed slight concern that Price Tag has been training too quickly in the buildup to the CashCall Mile. Since the Gamely, Price Tag has worked three times, including five furlongs in 59.60 on June 22 and a breeze in 59.80 seconds last Saturday.

"That's the only thing that concerns me: that her works are too fast," Frankel said. "But she's acting great."

Dancing Edie will attempt to lead throughout.

The winner of the Grade 1 John Mabee Handicap at Del Mar last July, Dancing Edie is co-owned by Paul Reddam, the owner of the CashCall lending company which is sponsoring the race. Dancing Edie has made one start this year, finishing second in the restricted Redondo Beach Stakes over a mile on turf here on June 9. Trained by Craig Dollase, Dancing Edie led for much of that race and was beaten a head by Somethinaboutlaura after a tough stretch duel.

"If we can dictate the pace, it would be perfect," Dollase said. "She's got that natural speed. I don't think many horses have the speed we have. We don't want to take away her style."

Frankel is also starting Precious Kitten, who is making her Grade 1 debut after having won three stakes in the last year. A 4-year-old filly, Precious Kitten won the Grade 3 Gallorette Handicap on the Preakness Stakes undercard at Pimlico on May 19. In that race over 1 1/16 miles on turf, she was timed in 1:40.32, a course record.

"I think she coming into her own, on top of her game," Frankel said. "She's very consistent. She's not too far from the best. She'll get a good trip."

The Japanese trio have run in that country's top races this year. Koiuta pulled an upset at 59-1 in the $1.4 million Victoria Mile on turf at Tokyo Racecourse on June 13, a race in which Kiss to Heaven was fourth and Dia de la Novia was sixth.

Kiss to Heaven is best known for winning the Japanese 1000 Guineas in 2006. Dia de la Novia won a Groupo3 race in January.

Wait a While underwent a blood test after arriving from New York and the tests revealed an elevated white blood count, Pletcher said. "She looked okay this morning, but she's got a bit of a temperature," Pletcher said Wednesday in a telephone interview. "It's disappointing. She shipped so many times last year."

Pletcher said Wait a While's plans for the summer depend on how quickly she rebounds. She is still considered a candidate for the Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park on Aug. 11.

"The first order of business is to get her well," Pletcher said.