Kinross Farm’s Just Wait and See controlled the pace throughout Sunday’s $35,000 Willowdale Steeplechase and drew away after the last fence to win by six lengths on a rain-soaked course in Kennett Square, Pa.
Bruton Street-US’s Lemony Bay, who shadowed Just Wait and See for much of the Willowdale Steeplechase’s 3½ miles, finished second after briefly drawing close to the leader before the last fence. Sycamore Run Farm’s and Move Up Stable’s Pured It finished third, another 1 ¼ lengths farther back. Blair Wyatt’s Witor was fourth in a field of seven.
Trained by Richard Valentine, Just Wait and See ran the Willowdale Steeplechase distance in 8:13 4/5 on soft turf that had been soaked by heavy overnight rain that continued through the afternoon.
Jockey Mark Beecher broke Just Wait and See on top at the start and never relinquished the lead. For much of the race, they led by 2 ½ or three lengths as Lemony Bay, ridden by Hadden Frost and Pured It under Eddie Keating alternated in the second spot.
As the field completed the final run up to the Willowdale Steeplechase’s long run across its ridge, Just Wait and See was going easily and opened a wider lead as the field headed down to the last fence. Frost asked Lemony Bay to run approaching the final fence, but Wait and See had a ready answer as he knocked down a rail on the last fence.
Beecher rode Just Wait and See vigorously to the final fence, and they pulled away from their tiring opponents to the finish line.
A 10-year-old Irish-bred, Just Wait and See was coming off three straight third-place finishes in Virginia steeplethons over mixed obstacles, a combination similar to Willowdale’s course of timber and natural brush fences.