Charmaine’s Mia and Drayden Van Dyke are all alone at the wire in the Las Cienegas
Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, since mid-summer, Agave Racing Stable’s Charmaine’s Mia came to play on Saturday at Santa Anita, as she opened up around the far turn and was never challenged thereafter in registering an impressive 2 ½ length tally in the Grade 3, $100,000 Las Cienegas Stakes. Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke and trained by Phil D’Amato, Charmaine’s Mia got six furlongs in 1:07.81 on the Arcadia, Calif., track’s turf course.
Breaking alertly from her number two post position out of Santa Anita’s new turf chute, Charmaine’s Mia was immediately head and head with Bohemian Bourbon to her inside, while Superstition tracked a close third while three-deep to the far turn.
From there, Charmaine’s Mia put away Bohemian Bourbon and although even money favorite Jolie Olimpica kicked into gear from off the pace late, she never threatened the winner who won with her ears pinned.
“I’ve never been on her before, but Phil told me she was working lights-out,” said Van Dyke. “She was sitting on a big race, that’s all I knew about her. He said ‘Play the break wherever you are, and go from there.’ She was doing it so easy, she had her ears pricked up and she was enjoying herself, so I wasn’t taking anything away from her.
“I knew she was going to show another gear at the top of the lane, if I had any competition behind me that was going to run me down, but I had too much horse for them to catch me. She ran a hell of a race.”
Second in a six-turf furlong turf allowance at Woodbine on Oct. 24, Charmaine’s Mia, who notched her first graded stakes win in her fourth try, was off at 16-1 in a field of six and paid $35.40, $9.80 and $6.00.
“I’ve learned with some of these horses coming in from Woodbine, that because they’ve got a deeper turf up there, this is their first chance to run over a firm turf and sometimes, they just float over it and she did just that,” said D’Amato, who’s had good success with horses coming from Woodbine over the past several years. “She had trained phenomenally well on the training track here. I haven’t had a horse get over this training track this well since (multiple Grade 1 winner) Obviously.”
A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by The Factor, out of the Bernstein mare Charming Vixen, Charmaine’s Mia posted her fifth win from 26 starts and with the winner’s share of $60,000, increased her earnings to $232,976.
Brazilian-bred Jolie Olimpica, who won last year’s Las Cienegas and had been idle since July 11, didn’t show her customary zip but rallied from fifth to be second by a half length over Lighthouse. Ridden by Mike Smith, Jolie Olimpica paid $2.80 and $2.40.
Although she finished third, Lighthouse, who was ridden by Umberto Rispoli, was disqualified for interference shortly before the horses came out of the chute, causing Oleksandra to clip heels, unseating Joel Rosario. (Oleksandra finished the race in good order while rider-less and although he was forced to miss the last race on the card, Rosario was on his feet immediately and checked out okay at the track’s First Aid station).
As a result of the disqualification, Superstition, who was ridden by Flavien Prat, became the official third place finisher and paid $3.20 to show.
Fractions on the race were 21.58, 43.80 and 55.63.
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