Mor Spirit, Songbird ready for next starts with Santa Anita moves

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TwinSpires Staff

February 29th, 2016

Edited Press Release

Working in company with stablemate Hoffenheim, Mor Spirit had his mind on business Sunday morning, breezing five furlongs in :59.80 under Martin Garcia for the $400,000 San Felipe (G2) going 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita Park on March 12.

The son of Eskendereya never completed a scheduled workout under regular rider Gary Stevens last Tuesday when he “lost interest,” but was back on the beam Sunday.

“He went well,” trainer Bob Baffert said of his Triple Crown contender. “He’s tough to work. He’s a very laid back horse, which is good. He shows us more in the afternoon, which is what you want.

“We’re going work by work (for the San Felipe). We’ll play it by ear. Gary will ride him if we run. The horse seemed to be more aggressive today. Last time, he lost focus. He worked well today and galloped out strong.

“That’s him. He’ll show you more in the afternoon. There’s not a whole lot we need to do with him. He’s pretty fit. I’m really happy with him.”

Maiden Hoffenheim was clocked in 1:01.20.

The San Felipe is shaping up as the most competitive steppingstone to the $1 million Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 9, with Danzing Candy, Exaggerator, unbeaten Smokey Image and Uncle Lino also scheduled to run.

Undefeated champion Songbird had an impressive four-furlong workout Sunday under regular rider Mike Smith for next Saturday’s $100,000 Santa Ysabel (G3) at 1 1/16 miles.

The Medaglia d’Oro filly trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm was timed in :48 and given the “breezing” designation.

“It was just a little blowout, a nice work in decent time,” Hollendorfer said after the 7:45 a.m. (PT) drill over Santa Anita’s fast main track. “There are a progression of races that you run in to get to the (May 6 Kentucky) Oaks (G1).

“You have the first one (February 6 Las Virgenes [G1]), then this one, then the (April 9) Santa Anita Oaks (G1). If you’re lucky enough after that, you can try a bigger race, although these are plenty big enough for us right now.”

Songbird is scheduled to walk the shed row on Monday, then jog and gallop into the race.

The Hall of Fame trainer also has Kiss N Scat and Surfside Tiara nominated to the Santa Ysabel, but said he would consider entering one or both “if it comes up a real short field.”

Smith, meanwhile, was succinctly effusive in his praise of the work.

“Every breeze is different,” he said. “A horse wakes up in a different mood, but right now, she’s absolutely just loving what she does. That was probably one of the best half- miles I’ve ever gone, about as easy and as smooth as you could possibly go; very impressive.”

Mor Spirit photo courtesy of Benoit Photos
Songbird photo courtesy of Benoit Photos