Carina Mia scores in Acorn
Trained by Bill Mott, the dark bay lass bided her time in the back of the short six-filly as Paola Queen and Go Maggie Go dueled on the front end through splits of :23.05 and :46.17. Cathryn Sophia scooted up between those two nearing the turn and briefly took a short lead through six furlongs in 1:10.23.
Jockey Julien Leparoux angled Carina Mia out entering the turn and the duo were four wide upon hitting the lane. The daughter of Street Boss then shifted back in, wrested away control from Cathryn Sophia and began pulling off. She extended her advantage throughout the stretch before ending up 1 1/4 lengths clear on the wire while finishing a mile over Belmont Park’s fast main dirt in 1:34.97.
Off the Tracks came running at the end to take second by one length over Kentucky Oaks queen and 4-5 favorite Cathryn Sophia. It was another 3 1/4 lengths back to Black-Eyed Susan victress Go Maggie Go, who just got her nose in front of Paola Queen. Forever Darling finished the order under the wire.
Carina Mia paid $6.10 as the 2-1 second choice for Saturday’s win. The Kentucky-bred miss broke her maiden second out at Keeneland last October by 9 3/4 lengths, then took the 1 1/16-mile Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs in late November to close out her juvenile campaign.
She didn’t return to competition until the April 9 Ashland (G1) at Keeneland, where she ran fourth, but rebounded in a big way to take the Eight Belles (G2) by six lengths on the Kentucky Oaks undercard last out.
Carina Mia now boasts a 4-1-0 mark from six lifetime starts and has banked $684,120 in career earnings.
Bred by Spendthrift Farm, Carina Mia was purchased by Three Chimneys Farm for $410,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. She is out of the Argentine-bred Southern Halo mare Miss Simpatia, making her a half-sister to Grade/Group 1 heroine Miss Match.
Miss Simpatia is herself a full sister to Argentinean Mare of the Year and champion Miss Linda.
Carina Mia photo courtesy of Uli Seit/Horsephotos.com
Julien Leparoux, jockey Carina Mia, winner: "I thought I was going to be behind Cathryn Sophia and Go Maggie Go, but I saw them go away from there so I decided to just sit off of them. I felt confident at the top of the stretch. I came around everyone and she kicked on at the end. She's a nice filly. We didn't get to the Oaks but maybe it was for the best because she won a big race today."
Bill Mott, trainer Carina Mia, winner: "We thought there was speed in there. It actually turned out to be a little bit more than what we thought. Certainly Cathryn Sophia, it looked like they wanted to send her into the race a little bit.
"Her first race came off a five-month layoff and things hadn't gone just right. She probably needed the race to get back in gear, I suppose. It is nice to get her a Grade 1 win."
Todd Pletcher, trainer Off the Tracks, second: "I thought our filly ran very well. It was kind of a hard race to predict how it was going to unfold, pace-wise. We were a little unsure of where we'd be early but I thought she adjusted well, being inside and behind horses most of the way. She finished up well and I thought she was closing with interest the last part. I thought she ran very well."
Javier Castellano, jockey Cathryn Sophia, third: "I had a good trip. I don't know why she didn't finish today but we'll figure it out. Maybe today just wasn't her day."