Argentine-bred Viva Carina
, a solid fourth in the Grade III Autumn
Miss Stakes at a mile on turf Oct. 27, tested the deep waters of a mile
and a quarter Friday and relished the conditions, dominating eight
rivals with a gate to wire, half length win in the $58,000 Rio Grande
Purse under Victor Espinoza, getting the distance in 2:00.11.
“It wasn’t easy because you have to really ride this horse to
keep her going,” said Espinoza. “I started riding her as we came to the
half mile pole and I rode her all the way to the finish. She’ll run
all day, but you have to stay after her.”
A well-beaten fifth at 1 1/16 miles on the main track Jan. 17,
Viva Carina was the third choice in today’s field of nine, off at odds
“When we work her in front of a horse, she works good,” said
winning trainer A.C. Avila. “When she is behind, she doesn’t run.
That’s why I picked this race, the long distance, I thought would help
her calm down and stay out front since it wouldn’t be so fast (the
pace). I like the way she ran.”
Owned by Coudelaria Jessica, Viva Carina paid $12.80, $7.80 and
$3.60. With the winner’s share of $34,800, her earnings now stand at
$108,220. She now has two win and a second-place finish from seven
Longshot The Only Key, off at 27-1, sat second to the winner the
entire trip and held gamely under Kevin Krigger to finish second, a
head in front of Warren’s Got Game and Rafael Bejarano.
The Only Key paid $21.20 and $9.20.
Warren’s Got Game, the second choice at 2-1, rallied late to finish third, 1 ½ lengths in front of Elegant and Mario Gutierrez.
Warren’s Got Game paid $3.00 to show.
Spring Bloom, the 8-5 favorite with Joe Talamo, sat a good stalking trip and came up empty in the drive, finishing fifth.