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.