10/10/2006 11:00PM

Wait a While, Honey Ryder one-two punch for Pletcher


Wait a While this, Wait a While that - is there room anywhere in the headlines for another Todd Pletcher-trained Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf hopeful?

A week after Wait a While's emphatic victory in the Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Santa Anita, Honey Ryder eked out a win last Saturday in the Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont. But which was more impressive: Wait a While by more than four lengths over the merely useful mare Dancing Edie, or Honey Ryder by a whisker over Film Maker, already proven to be of Breeders' Cup quality?

Honey Ryder, in any case, got what Pletcher called "the perfect prep" for the Filly and Mare Turf.

"It was just the race we were hoping to have her run," said Pletcher, who has pointed Honey Ryder to the Breeders' Cup all season. Last year, Honey Ryder's major fall race was the E.P. Taylor at Woodbine, which she won, but after winning nine stakes races in her 13 starts the last two calendar years, Honey Ryder has earned a spot on the main stage.

Pletcher could have as many as three for the Filly and Mare Turf, but he said Jade Queen, who made the pace in the Flower Bowl and held well for third, was unlikely to start.

Magnificent Song, like Wait a While a 3-year-old, can punch her ticket with a good performance Saturday in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, according to Pletcher. That race is one of three major Filly and Mare preps this weekend that will help determine the final shape of the field. Also at Keeneland on Saturday is the First Lady, which has Gorella - possible for both the Filly and Mare Turf and the Mile - as the likely favorite. The 11-horse field in the QE II also includes the top-class German invader Germance, who could wheel back in the Breeders' Cup with a good run Saturday.

Several hours earlier and an ocean away, Ouija Board is likely to make her final start before shipping to the U.S. in the Champion Stakes. Ouija Board's connections passed the Prix de l'Opera on Arc day at Longchamp, and are not fully committed to running Saturday. Trainer Ed Dunlop told England's Racing Post that Ouija Board's participation "depends on the ground and a number of other factors, but if she doesn't run, she'll go straight to the Breeders' Cup."

In other Filly and Mare Turf developments:

* Noble Stella, the top Canadian-based Filly and Mare Turf hopeful, was injured in a workout and has been retired.

* Satwa Queen, second in the Prix de l'Opera, is being seriously considered for the Filly and Mare turf despite the fact her participation would require a $180,000 supplementary fee, according to officials at the International Racing Bureau.

* A decision hasn't yet been made on Alexandrova's Breeders' Cup participation, according to a public relations firm associated with Ballydoyle, trainer Aidan O'Brien's Irish training base. Alexandrova, among the top 3-year-old fillies in Europe, finished third in the Opera.