10/27/2011 2:33PM

Santa Anita: Willa B Awesome tops California Cup Juvenile Fillies

Benoit & Associates
Willa B Awesome, with Martin Pedroza up, wins the Barretts Debutante.

ARCADIA, Calif. – It took five tries, but Willa B Awesome finally won a stakes in the Barretts Debutante at Fairplex Park on Sept. 17.

The drought included a third in the Cinderella Stakes at Hollywood Park in June and three losses at Del Mar during the summer. Getting back to a dirt track at Fairplex Park last month was the key, trainer Walther Solis said.

“I don’t think she handled the track at Del Mar,” Solis said. “Everybody who rode her at Del Mar said she was not getting a hold of the track. In Pomona, she ran her race.”

Another appearance in a dirt stakes at Santa Anita, in Saturday’s $100,000 California Cup Juvenile Fillies, has left Solis enthused about Willa B Awesome’s chances in her first race beyond 6 1/2 furlongs.

Willa B Awesome trains at Hollywood Park, which has a Cushion Track synthetic surface that plays similar to a dirt course. The Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies will be Willa B Awesome’s first start at Santa Anita and first race over 1 1/16 miles.

“At a mile and a sixteenth, she might show a little bit of speed,” Solis said. “I think she’ll be okay with the distance. All along, I thought the distance would suit her perfect.”

The Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies drew only six entrants and is the third race on a nine-race program.

“I thought there would be more horses than that,” Solis said.

Willa Be Awesome is the only stakes winner in the field. By Awesome Gambler, Willa B Awesome has won 2 of 6 starts and $121,896, the highest earnings in the field. Her rivals include two fillies who have placed in stakes. Real Dream, who drew the rail, was second in the Phil Shepherd Stakes at Fairplex Park on Sept. 16 and later fourth in the Soviet Problem Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Fresno on Oct. 9. Raesunbridledfaith was third in the Barretts Debutante.

Toluca, who began her career in a maiden claimer, was second to Raesunbridledfaith in a starter allowance Oct. 9. Two fillies in the field beat maidens in their last starts. One Magical Girl won a maiden race over 5 1/2 furlongs for $62,500 claimers at Del Mar on Sept. 5, pulling clear in the stretch to win by 2 3/4 lengths. Starlight Magic won a maiden race for statebreds over 6 1/2 furlongs by 3 1/4 lengths as the 6-5 favorite here Oct. 9.

Trained by Mark Glatt, Starlight Magic made the third start of her career Oct. 9.

In her debut at Del Mar on Aug. 13, Starlight Magic was a troubled fourth behind Ismene, who returned to win the Anoakia Stakes against open company here last weekend. In the Aug. 13 race, Starlight Magic clipped heels with a rival at the eighth pole and nearly fell.

“She had a terrible trip,” Glatt said. “I think she would have won that day. It turned out to be a decent maiden race.”

Starlight Magic has never run beyond 6 1/2 furlongs, but the distance of Saturday’s race is not a major concern, Glatt said.

“I think she’s got a good shot,” Glatt said. “This was in the back of our minds when she broke her maiden. She looks like she’ll route and she trains like she’ll route. Her mother was primarily a sprinter, so we’ll see.”