Carina Mia romps in Eight Belles

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Jen Caldwell

May 6th, 2016

Three Chimneys Farm’s Carina Mia lived up to her 3-5 favoritism on Friday at Churchill Downs in the $200,000 Eight Belles (G3), rallying to win going away by six lengths under jockey Julien Leparoux.

Trained by Bill Mott, Carina Mia was bumped hard at the start of the seven-furlong affair and settled into the four path in the rear of the field. Meanwhile up front, Marquee Miss, Summer Reading and Blip n’ Th Bye registered fractions of :22.68, :45.52 and 1:09.43 while passing the lead off to one another.

Carina Mia ranged up closer to the leaders nearing the turn but found herself six wide entering the lane. That didn’t stop the dark bay miss from kicking into overdrive and drawing off to stop the clock in 1:21.74 on the fast main track.

Carina Mia paid $3.20 for the win while Blip n’ Th Bye took second by 1 3/4 lengths over Nickname. It was another length back to Put Da Blame On Me, who just got her head in front of Summer Reading to take fourth.

The lightly raced Carina Mia is now 5-3-1-0, $309,120 in her career. The Malibu Moon filly broke her maiden at second asking last October at Keeneland and closed out her 2015 campaign with an easy wire-to-wire victory in the Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs.

Carina Mia didn’t reappear in competition until April 9, when she tired to fourth in the Ashland (G1) after leading early on. The Eight Belles was just her second start this season.

Bred in Kentucky, Carina Mia is out of the Southern Halo mare Miss Simpatia, making her a half-sister to Grade/Group 1 winner Miss Match and from an Argentinean black-type rich female line.


Julien Leparoux (rider of Carina Mia, winner) – “She broke slowly, actually. First time that happened. She was relaxed and came running at the end. She showed a new style, but it worked out good. She was very comfortable and relaxed. The four (Put Da Blame on Me) came out a little bit (at the start), but not enough to bother me too much. She just really didn't break that fast today."

Bill Mott (trainer of Carina Mia, winner) – "This wasn’t the original plan, but it certainly was our backup. But we felt it was a race would nominate for; she was already nominated to the Kentucky Oaks. (Finishing) fourth over in the Ashland we fell one placing short of having enough points to get into the Oaks, but it wasn't our plan to go directly to the Ashland, either. Actually, we were going to have a prep race before that, and it just didn't work out because of the quarantine (at Payson Park).

"Initially, she was going to run in the Davona Dale at Gulfstream and she had a little bit of a snotty nose, and we had to wait a couple of weeks to get that cleared up and our next option was to go to Oaklawn to run in the Honeybee and that is when the quarantine set in. So, we had a couple of little things that got into our way, but I think everybody is pleased and she had a good race today and hopefully there is more to come."

Being off the pace, rather than on the lead: "Our conversation in the paddock was that it looks like several of them in here have same amount of speed. It looked like if we had a clean break we had as much speed as anybody. Then she just maybe hesitated. You can't hesitate very long and you get four or five outbreaking you. She got a good education out of it today. She was in between and behind and (Julien Leparoux) actually had to steady a little bit heading into the turn. When he tipped her out, she has a gear now."

What is next? "I guess the Acorn would be the next thing on the docket for her. Who knows, maybe will run into Songbird in the Acorn."

Florent Geroux (rider of Blip n’ Th Bye, runner-up) – "She ran a really good race. She broke very sharp. She was in a great spot right off the bat. I just got beat by a better filly.''

Al Stall Jr. (trainer of Blip n’ Th Bye, runner-up) – "We love it. We love it. When you win two races, it was between here and maybe the Miss Preakness. She just trained so well here, and she shipped up so nicely. We just rolled the dice.''

Javier Castellano (rider of Nickname, third-place finisher) – “The winner was much the best and one of the top horses in the country. I expected a quick early pace and we tried to do something different in coming from behind. I was hoping to find the late punch and it didn’t work out.”

Carina Mia photo courtesy of Jim Tyrrell/