When Willa On The Move ran second in a stakes race at Philadelphia Park on New Year's Day, two aspects of her performace indicated the filly might be underachieving: she waited on pursuers after taking a sizable lead in the stretch, then she bled from the nostrils.

The race was a lesson of sorts for jockey Jimmy Edwards, who discovered he had to keep Willa On The Move in a racing frame of mind. With that knowledge, and the use of the anti-bleeding medication Lasix, Willa On The Move has won two subsequent stakes races.

Yesterday, as the 4-to-5 favorite, she defeated Fat And Foxy by 3 1/2 lengths in the $55,575 Gay Matelda Stakes at Laurel. North Watch was third.

Willa On The Move completed a muddy mile in 1:37 1/5, although Edwards said he had to move the bay 3-year-old prematurely. Down the backstretch, Edwards had Willa On The Move on the inside, about two lengths off front-running Empress Tigere. La De Da was off Empress Tigere's right flank when Donald Miller Jr. sent North Watch into fourth, outside of Willa On The Move.

"I had to ask her then because Miller was trying to close the hole up on me," Edwards said. "My only concern at that point was that she hadn't been {as far as} a mile before."

But any doubts soon were put to rest. Willa On The Move accelerated along the rail and Edwards then angled her outside of Empress Tigere, whom she overtook at the top of the stretch.

At that point, Kent Desormeaux -- in pursuit of his sixth victory of the day -- had Fat And Foxy in full stride, three wide. But Edwards never gave Willa On The Move a chance to relax, and she easily repelled Fat And Foxy's belated bid.

"I knew she'd handle the mile," said Leon Blusiewicz, who trains Willa On The Move for Lorraine Quinichett of Silver Spring. "It was just a question of whether she could handle these horses."

She also showed she could handle herself.

Jockey Vince (Jimbo) Bracciale Jr. said he has appealed to the Maryland Racing Commission a stewards ruling on Monday's General George Stakes at Laurel.

In that race, Desormeaux rode Private Terms to his fourth straight victory after Bracciale checked his mount, Dynaformer, around the far turn. Dynaformer then resumed his rally and finished second, 1 1/2 lengths behind Private Terms.

Bracciale lodged an objection, claiming he checked Dynaformer because Desormeaux drifted into his path. After lengthy deliberation, the stewards overruled Bracciale.

"I thought {Private Terms} was definitely going to come down," Bracciale said. "I mean, my horse almost went down. Before that, I thought we were going to win it easy."

The difference between first and second place was $51,458.

Thirty Eight Go Go had a one-mile workout yesterday morning at 11:30, a half-hour before post time. Under Desormeaux, the gray filly was clocked in 1:39 3/5 after turning fractions of 24 1/5, 49 3/5 and 1:15 3/5. Desormeaux is set to ride her in Gulfstream Park's Bonnie Miss Stakes on March 2.

Jockey Mario Pino will have time this week to spend with his newborn daughter, Danielle Marie. Beginning Tuesday, Pino begins a seven-day suspension for a riding infraction last week.