Early this summer, Willa On The Move ran against some of the best 3-year-old fillies in the country. Yesterday, she crushed a field of defenseless Maryland-breds, galloping to an 11-length victory in the $60,000 Politely Stakes at Laurel Park.
Willa On The Move hadn't raced since July 13, when she finished second in the Grade III Azalea Breeders' Cup at Calder Race Course, and trainer Rodney Jenkins said before this race she was only 70 percent of her best going in.
If true, then the track record might have been in jeopardy if Willa On The Move were a little fitter as she blazed the seven furlongs in 1 minute 22.62 seconds.
"I thought she would maybe be a work short, but her class helps a lot," Jenkins said in the winner's circle. "She's a good filly. She's run six times at five different racetracks and has never been worse than second."
Willa On the Move, owned by Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, flashed her potential in her third start, a second-place finish in the Ms Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. Her second-place finish in the Grade I Acorn in June at Belmont Park showed Jenkins she can compete with the best filly sprinters in the country.
In the Politely, Willa On The Move stalked the fast pace set by Singing Sword, Dante's Rocket and Gazillion and seized command coming out of the turn. The closers never stood a chance as hot jockey Jozbin Santana drove her to victory with an easy hand ride.
"I had a perfect trip and everything set up like I expected," said Santana, who has won three stakes races during the current meet. "I was waiting for them to stop to make my move."
Jenkins said Willa On The Move will be pointed toward the Grade II Barbara Fritchie Handicap in February and probably will run in two races before then.
Racing Notes: Red Bullet, winner of the 2000 Preakness Stakes, made a powerful return to racing yesterday, running down ace sprinter Rusty Spur in the stretch to win the $55,000 Foggy Road Stakes at Delaware Park. Trained by Joseph Orseno and owned by Magna Entertainment Chairman Frank Stronach, the 5-year-old Red Bullet ran six furlongs in 1:10.34. He now will be pointed toward the Grade I $350,000 Cigar Mile on Nov. 30 at Aqueduct . . . .
Laurel Park-based La Reine's Terms traveled to Hawthorne Park outside of Chicago and finished a well-beaten sixth in the Grade III $150,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap won by Kimberlite Pipe. Trained by Lawrence Murray and ridden by Horatio Karamanos, La Reine's Terms had won five straight stakes races in Maryland, the last being the Maryland Million Turf.