Killer Graces, Willa B Awesome Among Oaks Noms; Belle Royale Nominated To Beverly Hills Handicap

Racing News
Posted 06.15.12 at 3:17

Killer Graces and jockey Joe Talamo win the Hollywood Starlet. © Benoit Photo

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (June 15, 2012)—Killer Graces, a three-time stakes winner over Cushion Track, and Willa B Awesome, who has won three of four starts in 2012, are among 10 nominees to the $150,000-guaranteed Hollywood Oaks.

A Grade II for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, the Oaks will be run for the 67th time Saturday, June 23.

Owned by a partnership that includes Daniel Borislow, Gillian Campbell, Steve Melen and Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, Killer Graces hasn’t been worse than second in five local starts.

She will be making her first start of the year at Betfair Hollywood Park after winning the Cinderella and Landaluce Stakes prior to her 14-1 surprise in the Grade I Hollywood Starlet in 2011.

The Congaree filly out of the Old Trieste mare Heatherdoesntbluff has won three of 11 and earned $432,830.

Trained by Walther Solis for a partnership that includes Phil Daniels, Patsy London and John Winters, Willa B Awesome became a Grade I winner earlier in the year. The daughter of Awesome Gambler and the Nineeleven mare Cause I’m Tricky edged Reneesgotzip by a nose in the Santa Anita Oaks.

This narrow decision at 13-1 followed an 11-1 upset in the Grade III Santa Ysabel and preceded a nose victory over Starry Skies – who is also nominated to the Hollywood Oaks – April 28 in the Melair Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Willa B Awesome, who has been 1-2-3 in 10 of 13, has won five times and earned $593,896.

The other Oaks nominees are Customer Base, Eden’s Moon, who won the Grade I Las Virgenes March 3 for Kaleem Shah and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, Long Face, Open Water, Potesta, Starlight Magic and Via Villaggio, who comes off a half-length win at 10-1 in the Grade III Railbird Stakes May 19. She is trained by Hollendorfer for California Horse Racing Board member Steve Beneto.

The 11 nominees to the $100,000 Beverly Hills Handicap, a Grade III for fillies and mares at 1 ¼ miles on turf, include All Star Heart, Aruna, Belle Royale and Capital Plan.

Three of the four are coming off stakes victories, topped by the Grade I success for Belle Royale in the $250,000 Gamely May 28.

Owned by Michael Tabor and trained by Simon Callaghan, Belle Royale is 2-for-2 in the United States, having won the American Beauty April 7 at Santa Anita before the half-length win over Quiet Oasis in the Gamely.

An Irish bred daughter of Val Royal and the Brief Truce mare Kahyasi Moll, Belle Royale is 10-for-26 with a bankroll of $358,231.

Trained by H. Graham Motion for breeder Flaxman Holdings Ltd., Aruna won the Grade II Sheepshead Bay as the 2-1 favorite May 26 while All Star Heart returned from a seven month layoff to capture the Redondo Beach Stakes June 10.

Owned by Hollendorfer and Mark DeDomenico LLC, Capital Plan, who was third in the Gamely, won the Grade II Santa Barbara Handicap – at the Beverly Hills distance – April 21 at Santa Anita.

The other Beverly Hills noms are Antares World, Caelis, Cambina, Camille C, Imperialistic Diva, Quaintly and Slane Castle.

Entries for the Hollywood Oaks will be taken Wednesday, June 20 while entries for the Beverly Hills Handicap will be taken Thursday, June 21.

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