05/02/2016 1:46PM

Carina Mia between two spots

Barbara D. Livingston
Carina Mia needs two scratches to get into the Oaks.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Bill Mott was in a bit of a quandary Monday morning when it came to his 3-year-old filly Carina Mia.

Sitting two spots out of the starting gate for Friday’s Kentucky Oaks, Mott was torn between entering the Grade 1, $1 million Oaks as an also-eligible or simply entering her in the Grade 2, $200,000 Eight Belles, a seven-furlong race on the same card. He is not allowed to enter in both races.

“I’m in a little bit of a tough spot. The owners want to run in the Oaks, I want to run, and the filly wants to run,” Mott said outside his Churchill barn. “If I’m still 16 and I’d need two scratches to get in, I’d lean very heavily toward going in the Eight Belles.”

If, by entry time Tuesday morning, Carina Mia needed only one scratch, “then it’s a tough call,” Mott said.

Carina Mia would be a player in either race. She won the Grade 2 Golden Rod going two turns over this Churchill surface last fall. Mott was going to run Carina Mia in the Davona Dale at Gulfstream in late February, but the filly had a minor illness. He was going to then run in the Honeybee at Oaklawn Park in mid-March but couldn’t ship because the Payson Park training center where he was located was placed under a quarantine for about three weeks around that time.

So, Mott had to run Carina Mia in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland on April 9 without the benefit of a prep. She dueled on the lead with Rachel’s Valentina before giving way late and finishing fourth, beaten 2 1/2 lengths.

“We wanted to run in the Ashland, but we wanted a race first,” Mott said.

On Monday, Carina Mia completed her preparation for whichever race she runs in Friday, working a half-mile in 49.56 seconds. It was an easier move than the five-furlong drill in 58.80 she put in April 25.

“We had a good breeze last week, so we were looking for something a little more in between,” Mott said. “It was enough.”

Mott worked several other horses he plans to run in stakes here this weekend.

Speightster, the undefeated winner of the Grade 2 Dwyer Stakes last July, worked four furlongs in 47.10 seconds in preparation for Saturday’s Grade 2, $500,000 Churchill Downs Stakes. Speightster got his last quarter in 22.80 seconds and galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.40.

Last summer, Speightster was training toward the Grade 1 King’s Bishop at Saratoga before having to go the sidelines due to an ankle chip.

“He’s worked very well,” Mott said. “He’s going into the race without the benefit of any type of prep race. If we get the type of race we’re looking for out of the Churchill Downs, he’s a horse the quality to go to the Met Mile.”

Late Monday morning, Mott worked the pair of Harmonize and Triple Threat on turf. Harmonize, a 3-year-old filly, started two lengths back of Triple Threat and got on even terms at the wire through a half-mile in 50.97 seconds. Triple Threat, a 6-year-old male, was given a time of 51.37 seconds.

“They went well,” Mott said. They were off a little slow, then they finished and galloped out nicely,” Mott said.

Harmonize, the winner of the Sanibel Island Stakes at Gulfstream, is pointing to Friday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Edgewood Stakes. Triple Threat, the recent winner of an allowance race at Keeneland, is pointing to Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic. Mott also plans to run Tourist in the Woodford. Tourist was scheduled to breeze Tuesday.