ARCADIA, CA – Agave Racing Stable’s Charmaine’s Mia seemed to enjoy a change of scenery, winning Saturday’s $100,000 Las Cienegas Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park in her first start on the west coast.
After spending her first 3 racing seasons exclusively at Woodbine and Gulfstream Park, Charmaine’s Mia was privately purchased by her current ownership and moved to California, where she joined trainer Phil D’Amato.
Breaking from post 2 under Drayden Van Dyke as a 16/1 longshot, Charmaine’s Mia pressed the pace outside the rail-breaking Bohemian Bourbon but ran well ahead of the field entering the clubhouse turn.
The race was all but over by the top of the stretch, at least for Charmaine’s Mia, who drew off to win the 6-furlong firm turf sprint by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:07.81.
“I’ve never been on her before, but Phil just told me she was working lights out,” Van Dyke said. “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.”
The even-money favorite and defending champion Jolie Olimpica lingered uncharacteristically at the rear of the field before rallying to cross second by a 1/2-length over Lighthouse.
Superstition and Bohemian Bourbon completed the order of finish.
Acting Out was scratched.
Shortly after the field left the gates, Lighthouse drifted out into Superstition and forcing her into the path of Oleksandra, who clipped Superstition’s heels and stumbled, throwing off jockey Joel Rosario in the process.
After posting the inquiry sign, the stewards disqualified Lighthouse from third and made her unplaced. Both Oleksandra and Rosario appeared no worse for the wear; Oleksandra completed the race under her own power.
Charmaine’s Mia found victory was her first ever in a stakes and since last January 5, when she defeated optional claimers at Gulfstream Park. The 5-year-old daughter of The Factor improved her record to 26-5-4-2 with $232,976 earned.
“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,” D’Amato said. “Sometimes, they just float over it, and she did just that. She had trained phenomenally well on the training track here.”
Charmaine’s Mia returned $35.40 to win, $9.80 to place, and $6 to show. Jolie Olimpica brought back $2.80 to place and $2.40 to show, while Superstition paid $3.20 to show.