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Carina Mia Faces Elders for First Time in Ballerina Stakes

Carina Mia Faces Elders for First Time in Ballerina Stakes by Sigi Mendoza: Carina Mia, considered the second best 3-year-old filly in the country, will challenge the older division for the first time in the Ballerina Stakes (GI) over 7 furlongs on Saturday, Aug. 27 at Saratoga.

Carina Mia

Carina Mia, considered the second best 3-year-old filly in the country, will challenge the older division for the first time in the Ballerina Stakes (GI) over 7 furlongs on Saturday, Aug. 27 at Saratoga. Photo: Chelsea Durand, Coglianese/NYRA

This filly faced her biggest challenge in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), when she faced and gave battle to the champion Songbird entering into the stretch, but faded a bit to lose by five lengths.

This time, she is cutting back to 7 furlongs; an ideal distance to face the older division, mainly because she recorded the best speed figures of her career in the Eight Belles Stakes (GII) over 7 furlongs. Even though the field she beat was not the strongest, the way she pulled away from the group in the stretch was impressive.

Carina Mia, by Malibu Moon out Miss Simpatia (ARG) by Southern Halo is facing another tough challenge this time, exclusively because the statistics are playing against her. Only one 3-year-old filly in the last decade has won the Ballerina Stakes, Artemis Agrotera in 2014.

However, the fact that her trainer Bill Mott is well known to avoid facing elders too soon, gives some confidence. Also, Mott won the 2000 Ballerina Stakes with the 3-year-old filly Dream Supreme.

To conquer the Ballerina would not be an easy task though, because the field is composed of tough runners with plenty of experience at sprint races.

Trained by Chad Brown, the current Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (GI) champion Wavell Avenue ended a losing streak in the Shine Again Stakes while earning her best speed figure of the year. Note that Joel Rosario preferred Carina Mia’s mount this time, however Wavell Avenue is the class of the field and picks up the leader jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.

Sheer Drama, a G1 winner at 7 furlongs, is cutting back in distance after two disappointing performances in route races. Obviously Sheer Drama can route, but her recent flops indicate a good strategy would be to cut back to 7 furlongs. Sheer Drama will be ridden by her usual jockey Joe Bravo.

By the Moon comes to this race preceded by a convincing win in the Bed O’Roses Handicap (GIII), beating the favorite Wavell Avenue. The Indian Charlie filly saved ground, waited patiently to make her move in the stretch to take the race. Again, she will try to save ground, but she must improve her speed rating to beat this field.

The Ballerina Stakes is a “Win and You’re In” race and ensures a spot in the Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare Sprint to be contested at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 4.

Today, it is not clear which race Carina Mia is pointing towards if she wins the Ballerina because it is proven she can route, especially if the pace scenario helps her, but the BC Filly and Mare Sprint could be an option.

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Ballerina Stakes 2016 Post Positions & Odds
1 Birdatthewire 15/1
2 By the Moon 6/1
3 Paulassilverlining 4/1
4 Sheer Drama 5/1
5 Sarah Sis 20/1
6 Linda Linda (CHI) 30/1
7 Spelling Again 12/1
8 Wavell Avenue 3/1
9 Carina Mia 7/2
10 Haveyougoneaway 10/1

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