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Willa B Awesome Upsets Santa Ysabel

The longest shot in a field reduced to five 3-year-old fillies after morning line favorite Eden Moon became ill, Willa B Awesome, at 11-1, purloined the 45th running of the Grade III, $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.


The California-bred daughter of Awesome Gambler stole off to a comfortable early lead under jockey Martin Pedroza, and despite solid fractions, Willa B Awesome was never seriously threatened before crossing the wire with 3 ½ lengths to spare in 1:41.73.


Killer Graces, with Talamo aboard, made a run at the leader entering the stretch, but flattened out while holding second, three lengths in front of Lady of Shamrock, ridden by Mike Smith. Charm the Maker, the even-money favorite, finished fourth after breaking awkwardly. She never got into the mix.


“My plan was, there was no speed on paper,” said Pedroza, “so if they would chase me for a little bit, I could pull her away early. If the other horses had to come from behind, I figured I’d have a pretty good chance to win the race.


“It was just the way I planned it. I took advantage of her speed. I put her where she wanted to be, and then I said, ‘Come and get me.’”


The result was the third win in 10 starts for the filly trained by Walther Solis who had backed up to third behind Charm the Maker and Killer Graces in the $100,000 Sharp Cat Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Hollywood Park on Nov. 13.


Willa B Awesome paid $24.20, $7.60 and $3.80. The mutuels on Killer Graces were $5.40 and $3.40. Lady of Shamrock paid $3.80 to show. The winning purse of $60,000 increased the winner’s career earnings to $233,896 for owners Phil Daniels, Patsy London and John Winters.




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