01/12/2008 1:00AM

The wait is over for Wait a While

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Wait a While makes her 2008 debut in the rescheduled San Gorgonio Handicap on Monday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Only a mare such as Wait a While can win two stakes, earn more than $400,000, and leave observers with the impression that she had a bad year in 2007.

Of course, since her 2006 season included 5 wins in 9 starts, earnings of $1.2 million, and the title of champion 3-year-old filly, the standard is pretty high.

Wait a While has done enough in her career to justify being retired, but owner Arindel Farm and trainer Todd Pletcher have opted to race her in 2008. Wait a While's first objective is Monday's $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap at Santa Anita. The San Gorgonio was scheduled for last Monday, but the card was cancelled because of heavy rain over the weekend.

The Grade 2 San Gorgonio, run over 1 1/8 miles on turf for fillies and mares, will be Wait a While's second start on the Santa Anita turf course. She scored arguably the most impressive win of her career in the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at the 2006 Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting. The Yellow Ribbon was her first start against older fillies and mares, and she trounced them by 4 1/2 lengths.

The Breeders' Cup is run here in October, a factor in the decision to keep her in training.

"With the Breeders' Cup here, and how she won the Yellow Ribbon so convincingly, it's a no-brainer to come back in 2008," said Michael McCarthy, who directs Pletcher's California stable.

In a sense, Wait a While needs to win the San Gorgonio. She has lost her last two starts - a third in the Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont Park in September and a second in the Matriarch Stakes over a mile on turf at Hollywood Park in November. A winner of 9 of 19 starts and $1,729,917, she has lost three consecutive races only once in her career, in the winter and spring of 2006 before she was switched to turf and her career took off.

"Obviously, the Matriarch was too short, but she still ran well," McCarthy said.

Chances are the streak will end when she starts as a heavy favorite, and the 121-pound topweight, in the San Gorgonio. McCarthy said she has trained well.

"Her temperament, disposition and willingness to train and her general overall attitude is good," McCarthy said. "We offer no excuses."

Wait a While has four seemingly overmatched rivals - Costume, Lavender Sky, Hucking Hot, and Sohgol. Each is searching for her first graded stakes win. Hucking Hot won the Audrey Skirball-Kenis Stakes in November, while Sohgol won the Hermosa Beach Handicap last month.