07/26/2012 2:24PM

Del Mar: Willa B Awesome will be tighter for Fleet Treat


DEL MAR, Calif. – Willa B Awesome is a filly who thrives on activity.

In five starts since late January, she has won three stakes, including the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks on March 31. The timing of races is a key element to that success. On June 23, she was sixth in the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks, her worst performance of the year. The race came after an eight-week break that was too long, trainer Walther Solis said.

She needs to race more often, Solis said, which makes her appearance in Saturday’s $200,000 Fleet Treat Stakes for California-breds over seven furlongs at Del Mar a better fit.

“I think she’s going to the race a little tighter than she was the time before,” Solis said. “I think the rest took a little bit out of her. She put on a little bit of weight.”

Solis’s biggest concern is the distance. Willa B Awesome was second to Ismene in the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes over seven furlongs last December, her last start around one turn. All of her races this year have been from a mile to a mile and an eighth.

“I wish the race was a mile and a sixteenth,” Solis said. “We’d be very tough.”

Willa B Awesome’s main threat is Starlight Magic, who was fifth in the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks. The winner of the California Cup Juvenile Fillies last fall, Starlight Magic has yet to win a stakes this year.

Similar to Willa B Awesome, Starlight Magic is a threat from the back of the field.

“It looks like there is pace to follow,” trainer Mark Glatt said.

Glatt said a factor in Starlight Magic’s loss in the Hollywood Oaks was a 16-day turnaround from a win in an allowance race on June 7.

“I probably ran her back a little too quick,” Glatt said. “It was a tough race. With more time between races, she could have been third.

She made a nice move around the turn and flattened out.”

In a field of nine 3-year-old fillies, Madoffwiththemoney and Tasty Treat, the winners of optional claimers for sprinters this summer, will contribute to a quick pace.

Tasty Treat has won two of her last five starts, all in turf sprints, for owner Brian Cunningham and trainer Mike Pender.

“I imagine she’ll be on the lead,” Pender said. “We’re confident that she can handle the distance.”