03/04/2007 12:00AM

Wait a While starts season on winning note

Email

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Wait a While, last year's 3-year-old champion filly, launched her 4-year-old campaign in style Sunday at Gulfstream Park, taking command of the Grade 3, $100,000 Honey Fox entering the first turn and rolling to a front-running, 1 1/4-length victory over Precious Kitten.

It was another two lengths back to Chaibia in third. Aunt Henny, Miss Shop, Brazilian, and Aerocat completed the order of finish.

The victory was the fourth in a graded stakes event here this weekend for trainer Todd Pletcher, who on Saturday won the Fountain of Youth, Hutcheson, and Richter Scale Breeders’ Cup Handicap - all Grade 2 stakes.

Making her first start since a fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf last November, Wait a While broke alertly under John Velazquez, easily made the front entering the first turn and ran fractions of 23.82 seconds, 47.64, 1:11.08, and 1:33.55. She covered the 1 1/16-miles in 1:39.37 over a firm turf course. Wait a While, a daughter of Maria's Mon owned by Florida Panthers owner Alan Cohen, returned $2.80 the 2-5 favorite.

"I told Johnny in the paddock I figured she would be kind of fresh, if you get an opportunity to get her settled just use your judgment," Pletcher said. "She was a bit fresh and there wasn't a whole lot of pace on; she was there but it looked like she was doing it well."

Wait a While carried 123 pounds, conceding 6 to 10 pounds to the field.

"She was awesome," Velazquez said. "I gave her one spank and she took off."

Pletcher's goals with Wait a While are summer races such as the $1 million Cashcall Mile on July 6 at Hollywood Park and the $750,000 Beverly D. at Arlington on Aug. 11. Pletcher mentioned Grade 2, $200,000 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeeland on April 14 as a possible next start.

"I’m in no rush with her," Pletcher said. "We’ll keep her races spread out a little bit."