06/08/2006 11:00PM

Recipe for Wait a While's success: Add water

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - For those handicappers who like to bet gray horses in the mud, the gray filly Wait a While has to be a candidate for their handicapping hall of fame. The filly's victory in the Sands Point Stakes at Belmont last weekend occurred under the same conditions as her success last fall in the Miss Grillo.

Both were originally set to be run on turf, but rain caused the races to be run on a wet dirt track. Both events ended the same, with Wait a While in the winner's circle. In addition, Wait a While, a daughter of Maria's Mon also has run third in the Demoiselle at 2 and was moved up to third via disqualification in the Kentucky Oaks last month.

The gray filly with winning karma on muddy tracks was bred in Kentucky, raised at Lane's End Farm, and is out of a young mare called Flirtatious.

A bay daughter of the increasingly important sire A.P. Indy, Flirtatious was a good racehorse. She won 4 races from her 12 starts, earning $171,266. While not a stakes filly, Flirtatious clearly had ability, and Wait a While is her first foal.

Consigned by Lane's End Farm for breeders Will Farish and Temple Webber Jr., Wait a While brought $50,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale in 2004, selling to Tim Hamm.

Hamm said that he bought the filly because "she had great scope and presence, and because she is well-bred filly." Conformation and pedigree are two of the first factors that buyers use in trimming down a catalog of horses to form a list of horses they want to look at.

Hamm was attracted to the filly because he thought he was getting more than appeared on her catalog page. In addition to being by a champion racehorse in Maria's Mon, who sired Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, Hamm said that "Wait a While is out of an A.P. Indy mare who looked like she just missed being a stakes mare. She had really good earnings and is out of a stakes winner herself. I did a little thinking there, drawing some conclusions, and I thought she was value for the money."

Hamm and his family operate Blazing Meadows Farm in Ohio and another farm of the same name in Ocala, Fla. From their Florida base, the Hamms train and consign 2-year-olds themselves, as well as racing a stable of horses in other parts of the country. In addition to their star pinhook Wait a While, their best-known current runner is Too Much Bling, a talented sprinter now largely owned by Stonerside Stable.

Not long after Wait a While was shipped to Blazing Meadows in Ocala, the Hamms found out they had made a good buy. He said, "We thought she was the best 2-year-old we had. At Calder, her breeze was good, and her gallop-out was even better."

At the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's February sale at Calder in 2005, the filly brought $260,000, and her new owners (Alan and Karen Cohen of Arindel Farm) gave her to trainer Todd Pletcher, who has developed her into a major stakes winner.

While preparing Wait a While for the sale of 2-year-olds in training, Hamm said that "my dad, Ed Hamm, and I work together with the 2-year-old training program in Ocala. We have a very select pinhooking operation. We take about three to five a year to the sales for 2-year-olds in training, and this year, we sold three 2-year-olds at auction, two at OBS Calder."

Robert Fierro, managing director of DataTrack International and co-developer of its BreezeFig system of speed figures for breezing horses, said that "Wait a While worked twice at Calder. She was a Group 1 filly both times, and her best was a 63 BreezeFig. For that breeze, she showed a stride length of 24 feet, and our evaluation of her indicated that this filly was a one-paced horse who would get better as the distances lengthened. She didn't have the thrust to indicate that she would be a horse who was handy and quick out of the gate, but she wasn't slowing down, either.

"In our speed figures, we had her going at an even pace throughout her work, and that's an indication that she's going to be a galloper. Can somebody say, 'Coaching Club American Oaks in the mud?' "

While only time can tell about that insouciant prognostication, everyone with their eyes on the track can see that Wait a While is an attractive filly with quality. She is also the first foal of her dam. Flirtatious produced her third foal, a colt from the first crop by Breeders' Cup Classic winner Pleasantly Perfect, on March 17. The mare has been bred back to Maria's Mon and is in foal to that stallion.

Wait a While is one of four stakes winners this year by her sire, champion juvenile Maria's Mon. In addition, Maria's Mon has the graded winners High Limit, Cause to Believe, and Gaff. Maria's Mon, the sire of nearly two dozen stakes winners, stands at Pin Oak Stud for a fee of $25,000 live foal.