09/27/2006 11:00PM

Wait a While faces elders as favorite

Wait a While easily won in the Lake Placid (above) and American Oaks.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Wait a While, the 3-year-old turf filly from New York, has yet to face a test in a turf stakes this year. Easy wins in the Grade 1 American Oaks at Hollywood Park in July and the Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes at Saratoga in August have made her the undisputed leader of her division.

Saturday, her connections - Arindel Farm and trainer Todd Pletcher - will find out how that form compares to some of the best turf fillies and mares in Southern California. Wait a While is expected to start as the favorite in the $400,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting.

The Yellow Ribbon is one of three Grade 1 stakes on Saturday's 10-race program, which begins at 12:30 p.m. The card features two other preps to the Breeders' Cup - the Oak Leaf Stakes for 2-year-old fillies and the Clement Hirsch Turf Championship for older males.

The Yellow Ribbon and the Hirsch are part of the National Thoroughbred Racing Assoc-iation's $400,000-guaranteed pick four, which also features the Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont Park and the Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park. Those races will be presented on ESPN from 4-6 p.m. Eastern.

Wait a While has drawn the outside in a field of nine fillies and mares. She is trying to become the first 3-year-old filly to win the Yellow Ribbon since Ryafan in 1997.

Wait a While faces a field that includes Dancing Edie, the winner of the Grade 1 John Mabee Handicap at Del Mar in July; Live Life, a game third in the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park in August; and the rapidly improving Three Degrees, who was second in the Palomar Breeders' Cup Handicap at Del Mar earlier this month. Other prominent entrants are Amorama, the winner of the 2005 Mabee, and Moscow Burning, the millionaire who was second in this year's Mabee.

To beat those fillies and mares, Wait a While must be at her best.

Trainer Paddy Gallagher insists that Three Degrees is capable of winning of the Yellow Ribbon. The Palomar may have been her sixth consecutive loss, but Gallagher felt it was a winning performance.

"Her last race was really, really good," Gallagher said. "It looked like she was back to her old self, like she was when she was a 3-year-old. On her day, she can win one of these."

Three Degrees is winless since the Grade 2 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park in June 2005. In the Palomar, she rallied from last in a field of 10 to just miss catching race winner Mea Domina.

Live Life is capable of stealing the race from the front.

Trained by Neil Drysdale, Live Life is seeking her first stakes win, and a possible ticket to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

This summer, Live Life collected more excuses than wins.

In the Beverly Hills Handicap, Live Life was part of a speed duel, took the lead in the stretch, and was caught late by Memorette. Live Life was expected to lead in the John Mabee Handicap, but "missed the break," Drysdale said. She finished sixth, 2 1/2 lengths behind Dancing Edie.

Dismissed at 14-1 in the Beverly D. Stakes, Live Life ran arguably her best race. She led to the final furlong before finishing 2 1/4 lengths behind Gorella, widely considered the top female turf runner in the nation.

"She lost a shoe on the first turn in the Beverly D.," Drysdale said.

Dancing Edie has not started since the Mabee, where she set a slow pace and won by a nose over Moscow Burning. The presence of Live Life will make duplicating that trip difficult for Dancing Edie, who is trained by Craig Dollase.

"I was impressed that she gutted out the win," Dollase said. "We'd like to be on a lazy lead again, but I don't think that will happen."