Six try their luck against Songbird in Summertime Oaks

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Jen Caldwell

June 16th, 2016

Up to this point, Fox Hill Farms’ champion Songbird has made seven starts and romped on each occasion to the wire.

The dark bay filly doesn’t look to have much of a challenge on Saturday either as she lines up as part of the seven-filly field entered in the $200,000 Summertime Oaks (G2) at Santa Anita Park.

Songbird racked up four wins last year, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), en route to being honored with an Eclipse Award as champion two-year-old filly. She’s made three starts thus far this season, most recently taking the April 9 Santa Anita Oaks (G1) by a facile 3 3/4 lengths in the slop.

The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro was all set to continue her winning ways in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs but came down with a fever following her Santa Anita Oaks romp and was ruled out of the Run for the Lilies.

Since then Songbird has been readying for her return to competition, including posting a seven-furlong move in 1:25.80 on June 11 for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Following that work, owner Rick Porter posted the following message to Fox Hill Farms’ Facebook page:

I am giving a quick update on Songbird. She came out of her work in great shape. Jerry texted me for several days after her work just saying "SONGBIRD PERFECT, JH" Entries for the Summertime Oaks is tomorrow, 6/15. They are expecting a five or six horse field. Let's get a good post.

Songbird ended up drawing post four, something her trainer seems pleased with.

“She drew well in the four post,” Hollendorfer said, “so we’ll see what happens.”

The popular, talented filly is obviously the star of the show on Saturday at Santa Anita, but she’ll still have to beat six other rivals, including Bellamentary and Kay Kay.

Those two finished one-three, respectively, in the May 15 Angel’s Flight Stakes going seven furlongs at Santa Anita. They’ve already faced off against Songbird, being well beaten when fifth and sixth, respectively, in the Santa Anita Oaks.

Two other fillies in the Summertime Oaks have also already come up against Songbird.

Now Now Carolyn was trounced by the Kentucky-bred champion in the Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3) on March 5, and enters the Summertime Oaks off a third-placing against allowance/optional claiming rivals going nine grassy furlongs on May 20. Sutton’s Smile was in Songbird’s maiden romp, ending up beaten 19 lengths while finishing sixth, and exits a second in the same turf race as Not Now Carolyn.

Two new foes will line up against Songbird on Saturday in the form of unbeaten stakes debuter Coppa and maiden winner That’s a Lady.

Coppa broke her maiden at Del Mar last November by 3 1/4 lengths and scored by that same margin when crossing under the wire at Santa Anita in her return last out on May 21 for trainer Phi D’Amato, who also saddles Bellamentary.

“There aren’t many options and they’re both doing good,” D’Amato said in explaining his reasons for tackling Songbird with Coppa and Bellamentary. “It’s really the only option. We’ll give it a shot.”

That’s a Lady took six tries to break her maiden and finally got the job done on May 20 going a mile at Santa Anita. On that day, the John Sadler pupil easily scored by 4 1/4 lengths over older fillies and mares.

“This is a big step up, but my filly’s been improving pretty well the last two races,” Sadler said. “She beat older in her last race. There were some four and five-year-olds in there.

“We’re taking a little bit of a shot, but she’s doing well,” Sadler added. “Songbird is a champion. She’s terrific. There’s not much more you can say about her. We’re hoping we can be on the board.”

Songbird photo courtesy of Cecilia Gustavsson/