Carina Mia is Golden in Churchill Downs mud
The 1 1/16-mile contest is a points race on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks and awarded Carina Mia with 10 points toward a starting berth in that spring affair. Stageplay garnered four points for second while Dream Dance earned two points and Dothraki Queen took home one point in third and fourth, respectively.
Carina Mia took command of the Golden Rod exiting the first turn and did battle with Stageplay in the lane after establishing fractions of :24.38, :49.07 and 1:14.13 on the backstretch.
The Bill Mott trainee was forced to circle three rivals rounding the first turn but had the inside path entering the stretch. Stageplay maintained her spot just off Carina Mia’s flank at the head of the lane, then jockey Julien Leparouz shook the reins at Carina Mia and she drew off to be 4 1/4 lengths clear on the wire.
Carina Mia gained a measure of revenge against Stageplay in the Golden Rod after suffering her only loss to date to that rival in her October 10 debut at Keeneland. The dark bay miss returned just 19 days later to break her maiden by 9 3/4 lengths while going 6 1/2 furlongs, and passed the distance test in the 1 1/16-mile Golden Rod when stopping the clock in 1:45.42 over Churchill’s sloppy, sealed track
Bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm, Carina Mia is by Malibu Moon and out of the Argentinean-bred Southern Halo mare Miss Simpatia. That mare is a full sister to a pair of Argentinean champions and has already produced fellow Argentinean-bred Miss Match, a Grade/Group 1 winner.
Carina Mia photo courtesy of Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
GOLDEN ROD QUOTES
KENNY MCCARTHY, assistant to BILL MOTT, trainer of CARINA MIA (winner): “You’d have to have confidence in her after her two starts over Keeneland. Obviously she’s a really nice filly so our only question mark today was how she would handle the distance and the two turns and I think that she handled it pretty emphatically there.
“She’ll head down to Payson Park and have a winter there and (Bill Mott) will map out a campaign to get her back here on the first Friday in May. I think going forward she isn’t necessarily is going to have to have the lead in every race going forward, to me she’s maturing and that’s what you’ve seen today. (Julien Leparoux) had to use her a little around the turn but when he got to the backside and asked her to ease up, she answered everything for him.”
JULIEN LEPAROUX, jockey of CARINA MIA (winner): “I rode my filly the way she likes to run. I tried to get her to relax as much as she could and she was, she was very relaxed on the front end. I started to ask her pretty early to get her going and around the turn and in the stretch she kept on going very nice. Usually in shorter races, I would ask her to break good and she does. Today going around two turns, I didn’t want to ask her too much. I thought that she would break very sharp and she didn’t break as good as she usually does, but she still did it very easy.”
STEVE ASMUSSEN, trainer of STAGEPLAY (second): “She was second best.”
RICARDO SANTANA JR., jockey of STAGEPLAY (second): “She had a nice trip. She tried hard.”
NEIL HOWARD, trainer of DREAM DANCE (third): “I’m really pleased. I see no reason why she can’t go two turns and go on. It was a good race.”
COREY LANERIE, jockey of DOTHRAKI QUEEN (fourth): “I had good trip but I’m not so certain she liked the surface today.”