04/11/2007 11:00PM

Wait a While fuzzy on soft ground


LEXINGTON, Ky. - No one could reasonably argue against Wait a While being the best horse in the Jenny Wiley Stakes. Since trainer Todd Pletcher moved her to turf, Wait a While has been a superstar, winning four graded races, including the American Oaks and Yellow Ribbon.

Horse racing, however, is a game of tricky variables, and if the Keeneland turf course comes up soft, as might very well occur Saturday, Wait a While could still be considered the best of the filly-mare division - although not on this particular afternoon.

Indeed, the moisture content of the turf will be of paramount importance when the Grade 2, $200,000 Jenny Wiley is run as the sixth race on the Blue Grass Stakes undercard. Even Pletcher concedes that when the ground is anything other than firm, Wait a While is vulnerable.

"She's clearly not as spectacular on soft ground as firm," he said. "That doesn't mean that she's not okay, but she's not as good."

Wait a While, with Garrett Gomez to ride, figures as a heavy favorite among a field of six entered in the Jenny Wiley. With the race scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on turf, Pletcher said Thursday he would scratch Wait a While if the course comes up too soft but that he "probably" would run her if the race were transferred to the main Polytrack surface.

Wait a While's only loss from six career starts on turf came when she was the second choice in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf after the Churchill Downs turf course had absorbed substantial amounts of water. Otherwise, she has been nothing short of amazing in winning the Grade 1 American Oaks, the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon, the Grade 2 Lake Placid, and, most recently, the Grade 3 Honey Fox at Gulfstream Park in her 4-year-old debut.

Even if Wait a While (post 2) isn't up to her own lofty standards Saturday, trying to beat her with any of the others still looks like a difficult chore. My Typhoon (post 4), a multiple graded winner who has earned nearly $700,000 for trainer Bill Mott, is the most logical candidate for the mild upset, but trainer Patrick Biancone said Mauralakana (post 5) has been training extremely well, and Precious Kitten (post 3), a half-sister to 2004 turf champion Kitten's Joy, has progressed steadily for trainer Bobby Frankel.

Fantastic Shirl (post 1) and Essential Edge (post 6) round out the Jenny Wiley field.