Ron Paolucci and Christopher Dunn purchased Ria Antonia privately from her owner-trainer Ricky Griffiths for less than $200,000 after her third start because they loved the way she moves over the ground, her commanding presence making her a standout even before she made the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita Park, her first stakes win.
Ridden by Javier Castellano, Ria Antonia was rolling strongly down the stretch until bumped from the inside by tiring pacesetter She’s a Tiger just before the wire. Ria Antonia, at 32-1, was moved up to first on disqualification, only the second time that a winner has been taken down in Breeders’ Cup history. Ria Antonia had doubters, supported by a fifth-place in the Frizette Stakes (G1) just before the Breeders’ Cup, her first race for trainer Jeremiah Englehart and first on dirt. Englehart still believed in the daughter of Rockport Harbor, and equipped her with blinkers for the first time in the Juvenile Fillies, giving Ria Antonia the focus necessary to reveal her talent.
A sweet-natured filly, she was nicknamed “Mia” as a baby at Clover Hill farm where she was born and raised, after the daughter of farm managers Amy and Wendell Teboe.