Carina Mia plays Kentucky Oaks waiting game at 17th on points list

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TwinSpires Staff

May 2nd, 2016

Edited press release from Churchill Downs

Three Chimneys Farm’s Carina Mia, who remains at 17th on the Kentucky Oaks (G1) leaderboard, worked a half-mile Monday morning at Churchill Downs with exercise rider Penny Gardiner in the saddle.

The Bill Mott trainee covered the distance in :49.40, with splits of :24.40 and :37. Her five-furlong gallop-out time was 1:02.80.

“We had a really fast work last week, so I thought this was good,” Mott said of his filly’s bullet five-furlong breeze in :58.80 at Churchill on April 25.      

The Hall of Fame trainer conceded that with the clock ticking on entries Tuesday for the Oaks -- and Carina Mia on the outside looking in -- it is likely he will enter the winner of last year’s Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs in the Eight Belles (G2) on the Oaks undercard. Kentucky rules do not allow for Mott entering Carina Mia in both races.

“If we’re still at [17] tomorrow, I would certainly be inclined to enter in the Eight Belles,” said Mott, who then quipped, “I’ve checked on [the rule], and I tried to change the rule, and they wouldn’t do it.”

Trainer Steve Asmussen's Kentucky Oaks hopefuls had easy, half-mile workouts before the renovation break Monday at Churchill Downs.

In the first set of the morning, Winchell Thoroughbreds' Taxable, with exercise rider Abel Flores aboard, worked in :50.40 with splits of :24.40 and :37.40. Also in that set, Stonestreet Stables and Regis Farms LP’s Royal Obsession, with exercise rider Carlos Rosas aboard, worked in :50.40 with a first quarter in :24.60.

In the next set, Stonestreet's Terra Promessa, with Flores riding, worked in :50.80 with fractions of :12.60, :25.40 and :38. LNJ Foxwoods' Nickname, with Rosas riding, worked in :50.60 with splits of :25.60 and :38.40.

"I'm happy with them physically and mentally,'' Asmussen said of the four fillies.

Terra Promessa is on a four-race winning streak, her latest victory coming in the Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn Park. Taxable was second in that race. Royal Obsession is coming off a runner-up finish in the Gazelle (G2). Nickname, who won the Frizette (G1) last year, has finished second in all three of her starts this year, the most recent being the Beaumont (G2), an about seven-furlong race April 17 at Keeneland.

Asmussen acknowledged that the withdrawal of undefeated Songbird from consideration for the Oaks has played a role in the thought process.

Songbird’s defection similarly lured Cathryn Sophia. After her first loss in the Ashland (G1), Chuck Zacney, the filly’s owner, and Servis initially planned on skipping the Oaks, and returning Cathryn Sophia to sprinting in the Eight Belles on the Oaks undercard.

“I don’t want to say it was an easy decision,” Servis said of the change of plan. “Chuck and I talked about it quite a bit, actually. But I think it was a combination of things -- how well she did run in the Ashland, and that the field included five of the top horses we have to beat in the Oaks, as well as how she is doing -- she is actually doing better now than she was going into the Ashland. She is eating better and her coat looks better. She’s just changed.”

“I feel great about her,” he continued. “The only question is the mile and an eighth.”

In other Oaks-related quotes, trainer Todd Pletcher commented on how Rachel’s Valentina stacks up physically against her newly elected Hall of Fame dam, Rachel Alexandra, who conquered the 2009 Kentucky Oaks by a record margin during her Horse of the Year campaign.

“She’s not as big as her mother,” Pletcher said. “But she’s really well balanced and she’s got a big stride on her.”

Trainer Dale Romans observed what a tall task unbeaten Go Maggie Go has been handed thus far, stretching out from a debut sprint straight to a two-turn stakes in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), and now the Kentucky Oaks.

“It was way too much to ask of a 3-year-old filly second start of her life, and it’s the same thing in the third start of her life for her to go in the Kentucky Oaks,” Romans said. “It’s not something you would expect, but she’s a strong filly. She’s more like a colt. She’s good-minded, and she’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the Oaks.”

Carina Mia photo courtesy Churchill Downs/Coady Photography.