12/01/2012 3:08PM

Hollywood Park: Willa B Awesome tries to break trend in Bayakoa Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Willa B Awesome will try to break a four-race losing streak when she goes two turns in the Bayakoa Stakes.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The losses are starting to accumulate for Willa B Awesome, the top 3-year-old filly in Southern California during the first four months of 2012.

Since winning the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks in March and the Melair Stakes for California-bred fillies in April, Willa B Awesome is winless in four starts.

She will be expected to reverse that trend in the $200,000 Bayakoa Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on Saturday, trainer Walther Solis said. The Grade 2 Bayakoa Stakes for fillies and mares is run over 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

The Bayakoa will be Willa B Awesome’s first start around two turns since a sixth in the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks in June. At two turns earlier this year, she won three stakes.

Even though Willa B Awesome was third in the Cat’s Cradle Handicap for California-breds over 7 1/2 furlongs here on Nov. 18, Solis insists he was encouraged by the result. In early stretch, Willa B Awesome was involved in an extensive bumping incident with two rivals.

“All the trouble she got in, she was still coming along,” he said. “There was nowhere else to run. I like this distance more than seven-eighths.”

Solis said that the Cat’s Cradle “didn’t take anything out” of Willa B Awesome. “She was bucking and kicking the next day,” he said.

Owned by a partnership that includes breeder Terry Lovingier, Willa B Awesome has exceeded expectations throughout her career, winning 5 of 17 starts and $624,896.

Solis said she will continue to race through 2013.

The Bayakoa is seen as a prep for stakes such as the $150,000 La Canada Stakes for 4-year-old fillies at Santa Anita on Jan. 20, a race that may include My Miss Aurelia, the runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.

My Miss Aurelia is not part of the Bayakoa field. That gives Willa B Awesome a better chance for her fifth career stakes win.

“I think we’ll run her for another year,” Solis said. “This gets her ready for Santa Anita. That’s the track she loves.”

The field Willa B Awesome will face includes Amani, a multiple stakes winner from Chile who is winless in three starts in this country.

Trained by Neil Drysdale, Amani was a troubled third in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 4 and sixth against males in the $1 million Pacific Classic there on Aug. 26. She was fifth as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 29, her most recent start.

The Bayakoa is the supporting stakes on Saturday’s program.

The richest race of the day is the $500,000 Hollywood Starlet for 2-year-old fillies over 1 1/16 miles.

Executiveprivilege, the winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante and Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes earlier this year, will be heavily favored in a short field. Trained by Bob Baffert, Executiveprivilege was second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.