09/17/2011 8:55PM

Fairplex: Willa B Awesome gets perfect trip to beat Heleonor Rugby in Barretts Debutante


POMONA, Calif. – Willa B Awesome could not beat Heleonor Rugby this summer at Del Mar. The 2-year-old fillies met three times; Heleonor Rugby won two stakes and finished in front of her rival all three times.

Fairplex Park, however, is Martin Pedroza territory. The jockey’s four winning mounts Saturday included a polished ride on Willa B Awesome, $11.20 upset winner over Heleonor Rugby in the $89,900 Barretts Debutante.

Willa B Awesome benefited from a perfect trip in the 6 1/2-furlong stakes, while odds-on Heleonor Rugby was compromised. She did not break well and brushed the gate; her position deteriorated when she was rated by jockey Christian Santiago-Reyes.

“When I saw him take hold, I said perfect, I have him right where I want him,” Pedroza said.

Pedroza positioned Willa B Awesome in third early, surged to the lead at the five-sixteenths, got collared by Heleonor Rugby on the far turn, but put away that rival late and won by 2 3/4 lengths.

The win was the second in six starts for Willa B Awesome, a daughter of Awesome Gambler trained by Walther Solis.

An argument could be made that runner-up Heleonor Rugby was best. She carried five pounds more than the winner (123 to 118), was unable to establish early position, and raced wide before losing her punch.

With four wins on the card to one for Santiago-Reyes, Pedroza opened a 17-10 lead over his rival in the jockey standings. Pedroza is trying to win the Fairplex title for a 13th consecutive year.

After the top two, the Barretts Debutante order of finish was completed by Raesunbridledfaith, War Excess, Ask Me Later, A Racing Delight, Cha Cha Latte, Hanserella, and Tap It Twice.

* Unhitchthetrailor is the 7-5 favorite in the $100,000 Barretts Juvenile on Sunday at Fairplex. Eight colts and geldings entered the 6 1/2-furlong stakes.