Carina Mia on course for Ballerina; Flora Dora adds blinkers for Alabama

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TwinSpires Staff

August 14th, 2016

Edited Press Release

Grade 1 victress Carina Mia emerged from her :48.37 half-mile breeze on Saturday in good order as she prepares for the $500,000 Ballerina Stakes (G1) on August 27.

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said Carina Mia, who won the Acorn Stakes (G1) on June 11 at Belmont Park, is doing well following a second-place finish to undefeated champion Songbird in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) on July 24.

"She had a very nice work; nice and smooth," Mott said. "She's moving well and came back good. It looks like she was feeling good."

While Carina Mia is skipping another go at Songbird, dual stakes winner and CCA Oaks third-place finisher Flora Dora will race in blinkers for the first time while taking another shot at that rival in Saturday's $600,000 Alabama Stakes (G1), trainer Marialice Coffey said Sunday morning.

The Florida-bred daughter of First Dude has posted a pair of bullet works in the equipment since finishing 9 1/4 lengths behind Songbird. In her first work after the CCA Oaks, Flora Dora breezed a half-mile in :46.46 on August 4, the fastest of 134, followed up seven days later with another half-mile move under jockey Manny Franco, this time in :47.05.

"She's been a bit more focused," Coffey noted. "Instead of looking at the horses as she's passing them, she seems to be looking down the lane a little bit better. She went like a monster, but she isn't trying; she's just doing it very easily.

"We're excited about her coming into this race. She's maturing, she's happy. She cannot wait to go to the track every day but she is so relaxed about everything in between. She's kind of a fun filly."

Before the CCA Oaks, Flora Dora was intended to run in the Delaware Oaks (G3) on July 9 but was scratched when the track came up sloppy. Then, encouraged by a work over Saratoga’s Oklahoma turf on July 15, Coffey said she entered the three-year-old filly in the July 22 Lake George Stakes (G2) before making the last-minute decision to take on Songbird and Carina Mia later that weekend.

"Anytime you can get Grade 1 placing on a filly, it's huge," she said. "But we really weren't ready for that race. I think we're going to be a little bit better horse this time – actually I don't think, I'm pretty sure we will."

Like virtually all fillies her age, Songbird included, Flora Dora will be stretching out to the 1 1/4-mile Alabama distance for the first time, another facet of the race Coffey believes should work to the benefit of her filly.

"We're in tough with Songbird, obviously, but we're looking forward to this race," Coffey said. "I think we'll be at our best at that distance. The more ground the better for us. These big turns here, she goes around them like they're nothing for her. She's got a big long stride and she loves training up here. This is home for her, she's like the Saratoga horse – and I hope she proves it."

Carina Mia photo courtesy of NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography