06/13/2013 3:28PM

Hollywood Park: Willard Proctor contender Willie B Awesome kin to Grade 1 winner


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Willie B Awesome will start from post 6 when he makes his stakes debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park. From trainer Walter Solis’s perspective, it was an ideal draw for the promising 2-year-old colt.

“I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Solis said.

A full brother to Willa B Awesome, the winner of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks in 2012, Willie B Awesome is a top contender in the Proctor, which is run over 5 1/2 furlongs.

Saturday’s program also includes the $100,000 Cinderella Stakes for 2-year-olds fillies over 5 1/2 furlongs.

Willie B Awesome beat maidens in his second career start May 24, closing from fourth in a field of six. In his debut, Willie B Awesome finished fifth after encountering trouble early in a race over 4 1/2 furlongs. Solis envisions a stalking trip for Willie B Awesome in the Proctor.

“We’ll be able to track,” he said. “The first time he got left.”

The Proctor field has five maiden race winners, two runners who were second in maiden races in their first starts, and two first-time starters. Solid Wager, who won a $50,000 claiming race for maidens in his debut June 7, was supplemented to the race for $2,000 on Wednesday.

Kobe’s Back, who has yet to start, is likely to be withdrawn in favor of a start in a maiden race, trainer John Sadler said.

Sadler will start Street Icon, who won a maiden race over 4 1/2 furlongs in his career debut May 9. Sadler expects Street Icon to be part of the pace.

“He’s an early type 2-year-old,” Sadler said. “He ran a good race the first time.”

Street Icon finished three-quarters of a length in front of Geldautomat, a colt by Fusaichi Pegasus trained by Kristin Mulhall. In the last month, Mulhall has noticed improvement in Geldautomat, leaving high expectations for the Proctor.

“He’s been outworking older horses,” she said. “He’s going to be tough.”

Go First was second to Willie B Awesome in his debut June 7 and should show improvement, trainer Dean Pederson said.

“I’m hoping the added distance will work to his benefit,” Pederson said. “I was encouraged by the way he finished.”

Cinderella: Two winners stand out

The maiden race winners On the Backstreets and Sprouts have excellent chances to win the Cinderella Stakes.

On the Backstreets won her debut by 2 3/4 lengths in a maiden race over 4 1/2 furlongs on May 23 and will be favored in the Cinderella. A Street Boss filly trained by Peter Miller, On the Backstreets was ridden by Joe Talamo, who has won seven stakes at the current spring-summer meeting.

Sprouts, a Square Eddie filly, won her second start against California-bred fillies over 4 1/2 furlongs May 16. Trained by Edward Freeman for breeder Paul Reddam, Sprouts led throughout her maiden race win. She drew the outside post in the field of seven.

“She’s very relaxed and calm about things,” Freeman said. “That makes it easy.”

The Cinderella field has six maiden race winners and one first-time starter – La Madera.

One filly has changed trainers since her last start. Pleasant Miss, who breaks from the rail, was trained by Adam Kitchingman when she won a $50,000 claiming race for maidens over 4 1/2 furlongs by 6 1/4 lengths on May 9. She has since been acquired by a partnership that includes Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.