09/15/2011 3:15PM

Fairplex Park: Heleonor Rugby stands out in Barretts Debutante

Benoit & Associates
Heleonor Rugby will be favored in Saturday's $100,000 Barretts Debutante at Fairplex.

POMONA, Calif. – When he purchased Heleonor Rugby for $27,000 at the Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training, trainer A.C. Avila was not sure what he had.

“I liked her works,” Avila said. “They were only an eighth of a mile, but she galloped out strong. And, she was a California-bred.”

BARRETTS DEBUTANTE: Get PPs, watch Saturday's Fairplex card live »

It turns out Heleonor Rugby ran like she trained. Following a third-place debut, she won three of her next five starts, including two stakes, and earned $188,900. The total should increase Saturday at Fairplex Park, where the Tribal Rule filly is favored in the $100,000 Barretts Debutante, a sprint restricted to fillies offered in a Barretts sale.

“She’s getting better, and she likes the dirt,” Avila said. “She’s healthy and happy.”

She also stands out in the 6 1/2-furlong Debutante. Her eight rivals include five maidens, and three with just one win. Heleonor Rugby, whose name is derived from The Beatles’ song “Eleanor Rigby,” is owned by Jessica Coudelaria.

Heleonor Rugby does not have a published work since her most recent start Aug. 31, but Avila said she blew out a quarter-mile last weekend at Santa Anita. Christian Santiago-Reyes, who is battling Martin Pedroza for the Fairplex riding title, rides the filly.

While the closing style of Heleonor Rugby would seemingly be disadvantageous in a dirt sprint, the track profile this fall at Fairplex has been kind to closers. Only three of the first 30 sprints from six to seven furlongs were won by the pacesetter.

Willa B Awesome could start as the second choice under Pedroza, although she finished behind Heleonor Rugby in all three starts at Del Mar. Walther Solis trains Willa B Awesome, an $18,000 Barretts January purchase with earnings of $72,226.

Raesunbridledfaith wheels back six days after an impressive maiden win at Fairplex. Two starts in less than a week was the plan, according to trainer Craig Lewis.

“I wanted to see if she liked this track,” Lewis said. “I’d say she does.”

Agapito Delgadillo rides.

Cha Cha Latte looms the upsetter. Runner-up in her Hollywood Park debut in June, she was visibly uncomfortable in both starts on Polytrack at Del Mar. Sired by After Market, Cha Cha Latte has been working regularly on dirt at Santa Anita and might be better than her recent form suggests.

War Excess will set the pace. Other starters include A Racing Delight, Tap It Twice, Ask Me Later, and Hanserella.