Entered in the Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II) off a dominating maiden special weight win Oct. 29 at Keeneland, Carina Mia handled the class jump Nov. 28 to register a 4 1/4-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile test for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs. Watch Video
Three Chimneys Farm’s Carina Mia was challenged by Stageplay beginning in the far turn, and that duel continued well into the stretch before the daughter of Malibu Moon put her away and then scampered off late for the decisive victory. Carina Mia completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.42 on the sloppy and sealed track.
Jockey Julien Leparoux delivered a nice ride early and late. Starting from post eight in the 1 1/16-mile race, which features a short run to the first turn, Leparoux and Carina Mia briefly found themselves four wide in the first turn before Leparoux opted to use the daughter of Malibu Moon ’s speed as she cleared through a quarter mile in :24.38. She would maintain that clear advantage through a half mile in :49.07 before being challenged by Mike Rutherford’s 8-5 favorite Stageplay.
In the stretch those two drew off, and Leparoux appeared to angle out just a bit, allowing his horse to see her rival, while maintaining Carina Mia’s drive to hold off Stageplay’s rally.
“I rode my filly the way she likes to run,” Leparoux said. “I tried to get her to relax as much as she could and 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.”
In her Oct. 10 debut, Carina Mia finished second, three lengths behind Stageplay in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race. Trainer Bill Mott sent Carina Mia out for another maiden try Oct. 29 and she responded with a 9 3/4-length win, overwhelming her 10 rivals. With regular rider Leparoux aboard in the Golden Rod, Carina Mia successfully stretched out to two turns in her stakes debut.
“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,” said Mott assistant Kenny McCarthy. “She’ll head down to Payson Park and have a winter there and (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 going to have to have the lead in every race. To me she’s maturing and that’s what you’ve seen today. (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.”
Mott secured his first Golden Rod win since 1995 when he saddled Gold Sunrise to victory. Leparoux earned his third Golden Rod score after guiding Kathmanblu to victory in 2010 and Pure Clan in 2007.
The Golden Rod is an early points race for the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), with Carina Mia earning 10 points, Stageplay four, Stoneway Farm’s Dream Dance two points for finishing third, and Pocahontas Stakes (gr. II) winner Dothraki Queen one point for finishing fourth.
Carina Mia paid $6.20 to win, $3.60 to place, and $3.40 to show. Stageplay returned $2.80 and $2.40, while Dream Dance returned $4.40 to show.
Consigned by her breeder Spendthrift Farm to the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale, Three Chimneys went to $410,000 to land Carina Mia. The Kentucky-bred is out of the unraced Southern Halo mare Miss Simpatia, who also has produced Argentine classic winner and 2011 Santa Margarita Invitational Stakes (gr. I) winner Miss Match.