Willa B Awesome, 13-1 upset winner of the March 31 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) May 4, will not advance to the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). The California-bred filly will instead be pointed to the restricted $300,000 Melair Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park April 28.
“We’re staying home; she’s had a hard campaign all year,” said trainer Walther Solis of the 3-year-old daughter of Awesome Gambler, who is owned by the partnership of breeder Terry Lovingier, Phil Daniels, Patsy London, and John Winters.
Willa B Awesome has raced all her starts in California, launched her 3-year-old campaign with a victory in the Jan. 28 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park, after which she ran a distant fourth in the March 3 Las Virgenes (gr. I). Last year, she won the 2011 Barretts Debutante Stakes at Fairplex Park and placed in five other stakes on the West Coast circuit.
“If she was to go to the Oaks, it would cost us quite a bit of money,” said Solis. Supplemental entries to the Oaks will be accepted at the time of entry, but those entries require payment of $30,000 and the original and late nominees to the race are preferred over supplemental entries.
“If we didn’t have this race at home (the Melair), we probably would have gone (to the Oaks), but (the Melair) is strictly for Cal-breds at 1 1/8 miles and she’s one of the toughest competitors to go that distance,” Solis added. “You put all those facts together and we’re convinced if we stay home, it will be better for us.”
Solis said Willa B Awesome would most likely have some time off following the Melair. Plans for later this year are undecided. “We’ll just wait and see how she comes out (of the Melair),” said Solis.
Willa B Awesome, who was produced from the Nineeleven mare Cause I’m Tricky, has a career record of 4-3-2 from 12 starts, for earnings of $428,896.