09/18/2009 12:00AM

Well Deserved a fresh filly for Debutante


POMONA, Calif. - The $115,000 Barretts Debutante on Saturday at Fairplex Park is the perfect spot for Well Deserved to restore her reputation as one of the top 2-year-old fillies in California.

After winning 2 of her first 3 at Hollywood Park, including the Cinderella Stakes, Well Deserved struggled at Del Mar. She started once there Aug. 7, and finished a distant third in the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes. It was all trainer David Hofmans needed to see.

"She really didn't like that track," Hofmans said. "She is a horse that scrambled, and once we figured out she didn't care for that track we just pointed for [the Barretts Debutante]."

The 6 1/2-furlong Debutante is restricted to 2-year-old fillies that were offered for sale at Barretts. It will be Well Deserved's first start at Fairplex, but Hofmans and owner Marc Ferrell already know she likes the track. She worked a quarter-mile in a quick 20.80 seconds here prior to being purchased in March for $100,000.

Martin Pedroza rides Well Deserved, who faces a familiar rival in Repo, fifth-place finisher Sept. 5 in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante. Well Deserved and Repo split decisions at Hollywood, though Repo had significant trouble when she finished behind Well Deserved in the Cinderella.

The main difference Saturday between 2-for-4 Well Deserved and 3-for-5 Repo is Well Deserved enters as a fresh filly making her first start in six weeks. Repo is wheeling back two weeks after the Del Mar Debutante. Alonso Quinonez rides Repo for Doug O'Neill.

Twelve entered the Barretts Debutante; 10 can start. While the two favorites figure to dominate the wagering, longshot bettors will hope the abundant speed translates to a pace meltdown that would benefit Kaloula. She won a modest maiden race Aug. 23 at Del Mar in her second start, and her closing style should play well in a field with lots of heat.

Stakes winner Izzy Rules won both her starts at Pleasanton leading gate to wire; Princess Annabel is a speedster from Calder; also-eligible Judge Joan pressed a blazing pace and finished fourth in a promising debut three weeks ago at Del Mar.

Well Deserved has been forwardly placed every start, but Hofmans has always believed she would be more effective rallying from off the pace. She is likely to get that opportunity Saturday. The Barretts Debutante is race 11 on a 12-race card.