Steven Ciccarone’s 4-year-old filly Regalo Mia
rated comfortably off
the pace down the backstretch under jockey Luis Saez in Saturday’s
$150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf at Gulfstream Park,
circled the leaders nearing the stretch and drove to a three-quarters of
a length victory over Mark Hoffman and partners’ Hooh Why.
Frank Calabrese’s 7-year-old Romacaca was sent off the 4-to-5
favorite in the field of six Florida-bred fillies and mares and took
command early in the 1 1/8 miles turf test run on ‘yielding’ ground.
Romacaca set the pace to the upper stretch when joined by Hooh Why and
the winner, but had to settle for third, three-quarters of a length
behind the runner-up.
Trained by Michelle Nihei, Regalo Mia was making her first start
since a dull ninth-place finish in the Mrs. Revere Stakes (G2) at
Churchill Downs on Nov. 17, the first time she missed the board in eight
career starts. The daughter of Sligo Bay lost several tough decisions
last year when second to Dayatthespa in the Herecomesthebride Stakes
(G3) here and the Sands Point Stakes (G2) at Saratoga.
“There was never any question that we had a good filly since she
came to us as a 2-year-old,” said Nihei. “In her only bad race in the
Mrs. Revere at Churchill it just wasn’t her day. The race was at night
in the freezing cold, raining and the ground was slippery on top. Other
than that she has run her race every time.
“We do have to allow for her size (small) in her training, but she more
than makes up for it. I’ve always thought she would like a distance and
a three-turn race is the obvious next step.”
Regalo Mia paid $7.20 for $2 to win as the second choice and was
timed the distance in 1:52:39 with only her second win with three
seconds and three thirds in nine career starts.