08/06/2011 1:29PM

Del Mar: Mighty Caroline sets sights on Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf

Email
Benoit & Associates
Mighty Caroline wins the Sorrento Stakes on Friday at Del Mar.

DEL MAR, Calif. – In most years, the winner of the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar is considered a long-term prospect for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, with the hope of bidding for the division championship.

This year, owner John Liviakis and trainer Melody Conlon have a slightly different plan. They won the $150,000 Sorrento Stakes on Friday with Mighty Caroline, whom they consider a long-term prospect for the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf, which will be run the same day at Churchill Downs.

“If we’re lucky enough,” Liviakis said.

Mighty Carolina gave Conlon, 58, her first stakes win, which she said was even more meaningful because Liviakis, her principal client, had traveled down from his home in the Bay Area.

“He’s put so much into this,” she said.

Mighty Caroline benefited from a perfect trip in the Sorrento Stakes.

Ridden by Joel Rosario, Mighty Caroline ($10) was second to pacesetter River Kiss for the first half-mile, took the lead in the final furlong, and won by 1 1/4 lengths over River Kiss, finishing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.75. Killer Graces, the even-money favorite, never reached contention and finished sixth.

When she made her stakes debut in the Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park in July, Mighty Caroline set the pace and was caught in the final furlong by Killer Graces. For the Sorrento, Conlon wanted the filly to run from off the pace.

“We planned to do it, if she let us,” Conlon said. “We didn’t want to discourage her though. It looked like she had more in reserve.”

Bred by Liviakis, Mighty Caroline, by Stormy Atlantic, has won 2 of 3 starts and $123,000. Liviakis and Conlon said Mighty Caroline will make her next start in the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante over seven furlongs Sept. 4, the championship race of the meeting for the division.

Liviakis owns a public relations firm near the Bay Area and is a former trainer of Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds, though he has not been active in that capacity in 30 years, he said. He described Mighty Caroline as “one of the best” he has owned.

The milestone of achieving a first stakes win with Mighty Caroline had added significance for Conlon.

“It means a lot,” Conlon said. “The filly is a homebred. I’ve been working with her since January. It’s like working with your kids.”

Up In Time drills for Del Mar Oaks

Up In Time, upset winner of the Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap on July 24, worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 on Saturday, preparing for a start in the $250,000 Del Mar Oaks over 1 1/8 miles on turf Aug. 20.

Retired Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone worked Up In Time for trainer Simon Callaghan. Krone has been working horses here in recent weeks in preparation for an appearance in the Leger Legends Race at Doncaster, England, on Sept. 7. The Leger Legends Race is part of a week of racing there led by the St. Leger Stakes.

Awesome Gem, winner of the 2010 Hollywood Gold Cup, worked five furlongs in 1:01.80. He is being considered for the $200,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs in Washington on Aug. 21.