Ozara Shows Her Class in $100,000 Wait A While
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Cheyenne Stable LLC’s Ozara found room between horses at the top of the stretch before unleashing a powerful kick to score a popular victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Wait A While at Gulfstream Park.
The Wait A While, a 7 ½-furlong turf stakes for 2-year-old fillies, co-headlined Saturday’s 11-race program with he $100,000 Pulpit, a 7 ½-furlong turf stakes for 2-year-olds.
Christophe Clement-trained Ozara was sent to post as the 4-5 favorite on the strength of a debut victory at Saratoga, a fourth-place finish in the Natalma (G1) at Woodbine and a second-place finish in the Chelsey Flower at Aqueduct.
“From the very beginning we liked her a lot,” Clement’s son and assistant trainer Miguel Clement said. “She won rather impressively at Saratoga. We were ambitious running her in the Natalma and perhaps unlucky not to get her black type. Nevertheless, she got small black type at Aqueduct the other day and she got the job done today.”
The Irish-bred Ozara raced mid-pack behind a solid pace set by Great Venezuela, who set fractions of 23.09 and 46.82 seconds for the first half mile. After turning into the stretch, jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. sent the daughter of Lope de Vega between horses, and she responded with a good kick to run down the pacesetter and hold off late-charging Milliat by a neck.
“I had to bide my time. In the stretch my filly changed (leads) right away. She was ready,” said Ortiz, the defending Championship Meet titlist.
Ozara ran the 7 ½ furlongs over a firm turf in 1:27.36.
“Fortunately, Mr. Irad Ortiz is pretty good, and the filly was class,” Clement said. “I think she had a lot left in the tank.”
Milliat, a debut winner in Ireland who was making her U.S. debut, trailed the field early before launching a stretch run to finish three-quarters of a length ahead of Great Venezuela.