Willa B Awesome Gets Grade in Santa Ysabel
Willa B Awesome hit the front early and was never headed as she snuck away to an 11-1 upset in the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita Jan. 28 (VIDEO).
Santa Anita also ran three $100,000 stakes races on its Santa Monica Stakes (gr. I) undercard for state-breds as part of the Sunshine Millions with Gulfstream Park in Florida. With the scratch of heavy favorite Caracortado due to a foot problem, even-money choice Compari won the Sensational Star, Holladay Road captured the Crystal Water, and Chokecherymary upset the Valentine Dancer.
Solis said: "When they scratched the two horses on the inside I said, ‘We’ll change tactics.’ I was thinking about coming from third or fourth, but scratching the speed, I told Martin, ‘Let’s go to the lead and have them catch us.’”
“My plan was, there was no speed on paper, so if they would chase me for a little bit, I could pull her away early," Pedroza said. "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.’”
In the Sensational Star on the hillside turf course at about 6 12/ furlongs, Compari, ridden by Smith, stalked the pace into the stretch and took over past the eighth pole to register a 1 1/4-length victory over four rivals (VIDEO). Compari was clocked in a strong 1:12.02 over firm ground.
A 6-year-old son of Redatorre out of the Dixieland Band mare Southern Charm, Compari ($4) races as a homebred for Harris Farms, Donald Valpredo, and John Nicoletti. Marty Jones trains the bay gelding, who registered his eight win in 14 starts with earnings of $570,430.
Holladay Road, a $25,000 claim by trainer Julio Canani last summer at Del Mar, took the lead near the sixteenth pole and drew away for his first stakes win, a 2 1/2-length triumph in the Crystal Water (VIDEO). Owned by Gary and Wendy Broad, the 7-year-old Street Cry gelding covered the 1 1/16-mile main track test in 1:41.25.
Holladay Road ($6.60), bred by Williamson Racing out of Blending Element, by Great Commotion, has won three of five starts since being claimed. Holladay Road has earned $231,820 in a 13-race career that includes six victories.
The Valentine Dancer, at one mile on the turf, went to 8-1 shot Chokecherymary, who swept to victory with Corey Nakatani aboard (VIDEO). Gary Mandella trains the winning 4-year-old daughter of Capsized--Sassy Rhythm (by Gilded Time) for Steve and Sue Wasko. BnD Thoroughbreds bred Chokecherymary.
Chokecherymary ($18.80) rallied from sixth at the quarter pole, angling out in the stretch to edge pacesetter California Nectar in deep stretch by a half-length. The final time was 1:34.32. Secret Cove was just a neck farther back in third, nosing 8-5 favorite Halo Dolly for the show spot.
Winning for the third time in nine starts, Chokecherymary boosted her earnings to $172,478 with her first stakes victory.
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