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Homeracing

Songbird evokes memories of Rachel Alexandra

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TwinSpires Staff

October 31st, 2015

by Laura Pugh

The 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies was all about Rachel…in more ways than one.

No, Rachel’s little girl, Rachel’s Valentina, did not win, that honor was reserved for Rachel Alexandra’s two-year-old look-a-like, Songbird.

Never have I seen a filly remind me of the great mare as much as the “other” daughter of Medaglia d’Oro. They share the same face shape, they both have white feet, and both have that same long, magnificent stride, both share a similar forward running style, and both possess an enormous amount of talent.

Songbird did figure things out a bit earlier than Rachel Alexandra, so much so that she is a slam dunk for the Eclipse Award for her division. Rachel Alexandra, by comparison, didn’t get her first stakes win until the end of November, in the Golden Rod.

With this win, Songbird defeated a very solid field that included Rachel’s Valentina, Rachel Alexandra’s daughter (who was previously unbeaten), Frizette winner Nickname, and Pocahontas winner Dothraki Queen.

Mike Smith, the pilot of Songbird and also the Breeders’ Cup’s winningest jockey, was amazed at the talent of Songbird.

“She's so talented and she gives you so much confidence,” he said. “I almost felt like yawning as we went along. I don't mean that in a bragging way. She just gives me that much confidence.”

These words, coming from the same man who piloted the great Zenyatta and Azeri couldn’t include any higher praise.

Owner Rick Porter is also no stranger to top notch mares; after all it wasn’t all that long ago when he campaigned the 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace. However, even Songbird surprised him with the ease in which she won her race.

“From the 10 hole, we knew we had to get a good break, but Mike said this was the longest jump she's ever had to make to get into position on the first turn, that was the key,” Porter explained. “I knew we had the best horse going in, but the problem is, I've had the best horse in races before…the best horse doesn't always win."

Well, this time the best horse did win…and she won with style.

Will she become anywhere near as great as Rachel Alexandra was at three? That remains to be seen, but for now she has given us plenty to be excited about and to look forward to.

Songbird photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography

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