Malibu Moon’s Carina Mia turned back a stiff challenge from Stageplay in the stretch on her way to an overpowering 4 ¼-length victory in the $200,000 Golden Rod S. (G2) at Churchill Downs.
Carina Mia is Malibu Moon’s ninth stakes winner of the year and has pushed his progeny earnings past the $8.7 million mark.
Making her stakes debut, Carina Mia earned 10 points on the "Road to the Kentucky Oaks", the series of races that will determine the field for the $2 million Kentucky Oaks (GI) next May 6.
Carina Mia was off just a step slow, but quickly recovered and had the lead going into the first turn. She had the lead by 1 ½-lengths after a half-mile in :49.07. Stageplay, who was Carina Mia’s closest pursuer throughout, was all out in upper stretch to catch the leader, but could not get closer than a length and gave way in the final furlong.
"Obviously (Carina Mia is) 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 trainer Bill Mott’s assistant Kenny McCarthy.
"She'll head down to Payson Park and have a winter there and he (Mott) will map out a campaign to get her back here on the first Friday in May (for the Oaks). I think going forward she isn't necessarily going to have to have the lead in every race going forward. To me she's maturing and that's what you've seen today."
With the win, Carina Mia is 2-1-0 in three starts and has earned $163,840. She is the latest foal out of Miss Simpatia (ARG), also the dam of Santa Margarita Inv. (G1) winner Miss Match (ARG).