09/27/2008 11:00PM

Wait a While, Stardom Bound punch Cup tickets

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ARCADIA, Calif.-The Santa Anita turf course is playing a pivotal role in Wait a While's career. Saturday, she remained unbeaten in three starts on the course by winning the $400,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes for the second time. She won the race in 2006.

Saturday's race was a prep to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf here on Oct. 24. Wait a While earned an automatic berth to the Filly and Mare Turf, subject to the payment of entry fees.

“Hopefully, she'll go 4-for-4,” said Michael McCarthy, assistant trainer to Todd Pletcher. “Here and Saratoga, she loves.”

It will be easy to support Wait a While in the Filly and Mare Turf after her win on Saturday. Ridden by John Velazquez, Wait a While ($4) ran 1 1/4 miles on turf in 1:59.16, finishing three-quarters of a length in front of Vacare. Black Mamba, who raced in traffic on the final turn, rallied to finish third in the field of 10 fillies and mares.

McCarthy credited Velazquez for guiding Wait a While into third-place for the first six furlongs, stalking pacesetter Live Life.

“A lot of credit goes to Johnny,” McCarthy said. “He got her to settle on the first turn.”

Owned by Arindel Farm, Wait a While has won 12 of 23 starts and $2,181,917. She has won three stakes this year, including the Grade 2 San Gorgonio Handicap here in January.

Oak Leaf: Stardom Bound still No. 1

Showing no ill effects from an injury scare sustained on Friday, Stardom Bound confirmed her status as the leading 2-year-old filly in the nation with a romping win in the $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes.

The victory is likely to make her the favorite for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies here on Oct. 24. The Oak Leaf was part of the Breeders' Cup Win and You're In program, assuring Stardom Bound an automatic berth to the Juvenile Fillies, subject to entry fees.

Stardom Bound won her second consecutive Grade 1 in the Oak Leaf, which was her first start at 1 1/16 miles. Ridden by Mike Smith, Stardom Bound ($3.60) rallied from 11th in a field of 12 to win by 3 1/2 lengths over pacesetter Palacio de Amor. They were the first two finishers of the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 1. Oro Blanco, a 74-1 shot, finished third.

The style of Stardom Bound's victory was similar to her win in the Del Mar Debutante. She unleashed a wide rally that carried her to the front.

“She's amazing,” trainer Christopher Paasch said.

Owned by Charles Cono, Stardom Bound has won 2 of 4 starts and $340,600.

Paasch was as relieved as he was elated after the race. On Friday morning, during training hours, Stardom Bound was kicked by a pony, sustaining a bruise on the inside of her right rear leg.