By Brian Bohl —-
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Three Chimneys Farm’s Carina Mia took advantage of class relief and notched her first victory in more than a year, overtaking stablemate Going for Broke in midstretch and outkicking her challenger to win by a neck in the fifth running of the $100,000 Shine Again for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up on Wednesday at Saratoga Race Course.
After making seven consecutive starts in Grade 1 races, Carina Mia returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since the 2016 Acorn Soon-to-be Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano stayed off Absatootly’s fractions of 23.42 seconds for a quarter-mile with the half going in 46.08.
Out of the far turn, Carina Mia, the 123-pound highweight, made an initial bid going wide while Going for Broke bolted to the lead near the rail. Castellano went to the right-handed whip near the sixteenth pole and used a hand-ride to the wire, completing seven furlongs in 1:22.23 on the fast main track.
The 4-year-old Malibu Moon filly improved to 5-3-2 in 13 career starts, improving on her fourth-place effort last out in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on June 10, Belmont Stakes Day. She came to trainer Chad Brown from Hall of Famer Bill Mott’s barn.
“The way I saw it, those fillies I didn’t think were quality or competitive with my filly, so I didn’t want to go to the lead and chance it,” said Castellano, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Friday. “I had the perfect trip. I waited and it worked out great. I had a lot of pace and I had a lot of confidence because I know I have the best filly in the race, and she gave me a good result.
“She’s an amazing filly because she gave me goosebumps all the way in the race, and when it was time to ask her she responded so well.”
Carina Mia, the 1-2 favorite, won for the first time in seven starts, paying $3.20 on a $2 win bet. She improved her career earnings to $193,520.
“She came over to me in pretty good shape about a month ago. She had been working well with our barn and seven-eighths seems to be a really good distance for her,” Brown said. “You’re always anxious the first time a horse starts for you as the trainer and how they’re going to do, but she ran to her workouts. I’m very relieved.”
Brown saddled the top-two finishers, with Going for Broke tying her best stakes finish. The 2016 Grade 1 Alabama runner-up, piloted by Irad Ortiz, Jr., hit the wire 3 ¼-lengths ahead of Indulgent, finishing in the money for the seventh time in eight starts (3-3-1).
“Both horses ran so well, they were so close at the finish. I’m sorry there had to be a loser there, both horses ran terrific, but it’s a nice spot to be in to have two nice fillies like this,” said Brown, who also won last year’s Shine Again with 2015 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint-winner Wavell Avenue.
Indulgent, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, finished on the board in a stakes race for the second time and first since a runner-up performance in the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap on April 9.
Momameamaria, Birdatthewire, Wheatfield and Absatootly completed the order of finish.