Willa B Awesome takes on six in the Melair Stakes.

Willa B Awesome takes on six in the Melair Stakes.

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Willa B Awesome Headlines Gold Rush Card

Santa Anita Oaks winner faces six in Melair; eight stakes are worth $1.1 million.

Willa B Awesome, upset winner of the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) last month, headlines the 2012 California Gold Rush at Betfair Hollywood Park April 28.

The series of eight stakes races for California-bred horses will be worth about $1.1 million this year. Willa B Awesome takes on six other 3-year-old fillies in the $300,000 Melair Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on Hollywood's Cushion Track.

Along with the $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes for 3-year-olds, the Melair is the richest event of the 13th California Gold Rush program.

The Melair is the sixth of 10 races, while the Snow Chief, also at 1 1/8 miles, is race 8. Stoney Fleece is the 122-pound high weight in the Snow Chief, which attracted a field of 10. First post time is 1 p.m. PDT.

Owned by Phil Daniels, Patsy London, John Winters, and breeder Terry Lovingier, and trained by Walther Solis, Willa B Awesome was 13-1 when she surprised Reneesgotzip by a nose in the Oaks March 31.

The victory was the fourth in 12 starts for the daughter of Awesome Gambler. Earlier in the year, Willa B Awesome wired four opponents at 11-1 in the Santa Ysabel (gr. III). She has earned $428,896.

A first-out winner versus maidens over Cushion Track nearly one year ago, Willa B Awesome has yet to be off the board in three starts at Hollywood. After her debut victory, she was third in the Cinderella Stakes in June and third in the Sharp Cat last Nov. 13.

Starlight Magic could be the main threat to Willa B Awesome. Corey Wagner's 3-year-old gray/roan daughter of Marino Marini defeated the grade I winner in last fall's California Cup Juvenile Fillies at 1 1/16 miles as the 3-5 favorite.

Making her second start of the year for trainer Mark Glatt, Starlight Magic had been off for five months when she tuned up for the Melair in the 6 1/2-furlong Evening Jewel Stakes at Santa Anita March 31. She was runner-up to Warren's Amber as the 17-10 choice, losing by three-quarters of a length.

Ben Warren's homebred Warren's Amber, in the money in her past five starts for trainer Jorge Gutierrez, stretches out following her 11-1 upset in the Evening Jewel.

Starry Skies will switch to Cushion Track for trainer Marty Jones after beginning her career with consecutive sprint victories on turf.

With Rousing Sermon headed for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Stoney Fleece becomes the favorite in the Snow Chief. He's the only stakes winner in the field, taking the Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) over the Hollywood turf Nov. 27. The Decarchy colt will make his first synthetic appearance since Del Mar.

Owned by Gary and Cecil Barber and trained by John Sadler, Stoney Fleece has won three of nine starts since being claimed for $40,000 out of his first start, a maiden victory at Del Mar.

Stoney Fleece was fifth in the I’m Smokin Stakes over Del Mar’s Polytrack last September in his most recent start over a synthetic track.

Sadler also entered Corner Office, owned and bred by Pam and Marty Wygod. The Bertrando colt has won once in five outings and is coming out of a fourth-place finish against first-level state-bred allowance company going one mile at Santa Anita April 7.

Trainer Alexis Barba, who won the 2010 Snow Chief with Alphie’s Bet, will saddle that one’s half-brother, Unusual Heatwave. By Unusual Heat out of the Candi’s Gold mare Miss Alphie, he has won once in eight starts. Unusual Heatwave comes off a fourth-place finish in the Pasadena Stakes on turf March 23 at Santa Anita.

Real Conundrum, trained by Dan Hendricks for Judi Partridge, tries two turns for the first time following a third-place finish in the 6 1/2-furlong Echo Eddie Stakes March 31 at Santa Anita.

Another trying more ground for the first time is Suances Candy, a gelding by Suances that has a win and a second in two sprints on turf for owner-breeder Red Baron’s Barn and trainer Darrell Vienna.

Also on the Gold Rush program is the $125,000 Tiznow Stakes at 7 1/2 furlongs, headlined by M One Rifle. The 6-year-old One Man Army gelding holds the track record for five furlongs, timed in :55.98 when winning the Cool Frenchy Stakes last May.

Camille C and Going for a Spin, a pair of past Gold Rush winners, are among the eight entrants in the $125,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes, which goes at 7 1/2 furlongs over Cushion Track.

Trained by Marcelo Polanco for owner Carlos Polanco, Camille C won the 2010 Melair, but is winless in 14 subsequent starts. The 5-year-old daughter of Roman Ruler has won three of 27 and banked $367,495.

The winner of the 2011 Warren’s Thoroughbred, Going for a Spin is back with trainer Mike Mitchell after being re-claimed for $32,000 April 6. The 4-year-old Ministers Wild Cat  filly is owned by a partnership that includes Little Red Feather Racing.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who has won the B. Thoughtful a record three times, is scheduled to run Halo Dolly and Sister Kate.

The other four stakes on the Gold Rush program are the $70,000 Grey Memo at seven furlongs, the $70,000 Warren’s Thoroughbreds for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs, the $60,000 Alphabet Kisses for maiden fillies and mares at 6 1/2 furlongs, and the $60,000 NTRA for maiden colts and geldings at 6 1/2 furlongs.

$300,000 Melair Stakes (Race 6, 3:38 p.m.), 3YO California-Bred Fillies, 1 1/8 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Warren's Amber (CA), E Flores, 120, J Gutierrez
2. Starry Skies (CA), J Rosario, 116, M F Jones
3. Unusual Hottie (CA), K Krigger, 116, J W Sadler
4. Willa B Awesome (CA), M A Pedroza, 124, W Solis
5. Starlight Magic (CA), R Bejarano, 122, M Glatt
6. Vicki Victoria (CA), R A Baze, 116, M Harrington
7. Anna You're Up (CA), J Talamo, 116, C F Dominguez

$300,000 Snow Chief Stakes (Race 8, 4:40 p.m.), 3YO California-Breds, 1 1/8 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Corner Office (CA), A Quinonez, 116, J W Sadler
2. Teraad (KY), R A Baze, 116, J Bonde
3. Unusual Heatwave (CA), R Bejarano, 116, A Barba
4. D' Obsession (CA), P A Valenzuela, 116, M Pender
5. Real Conundrum (CA), M A Pedroza, 116, D L Hendricks
6. Oh Righty (CA), K Krigger, 116, W Solis
7. Bench Light (CA), J Valdivia Jr., 116, B J Koriner
8. Dylan Donnelly (KY), J Talamo, 116, M R Mitchell
9. Suances Candy (CA), D R Flores, 116, D Vienna
10. Stoney Fleece (CA), J Rosario, 122, J W Sadler