Songbird likely headed east following Summertime Oaks romp
Edited Press Release
Sunday morning, one day after celebrating his 70th birthday in the winner’s circle after champion Songbird recorded yet another victory, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer was back at his grandstand perch at Santa Anita Park.
“It was fantastic. Everybody’s happy, Mr. (Rick) Porter’s happy, Mike Smith, everybody,” the Hall of Fame trainer said, speaking of Songbird moving her record to a perfect eight-for-eight with another effortless win, this time in the Summertime Oaks (G2).
As for the sophomore filly’s next race, it likely will be east of California, and not against males.
Owner Rick Porter gave Songbird’s fan a hint of what’s to come on Facebook:
“Songbird came out of the race great and we are looking forward to a race back east. The (July 24) Coaching Club American Oaks ([G1] at Saratoga) is the obvious choice but the (July 9) Delaware Oaks (G3) has the same purse ($300,000) and is home base for me (Wilmington, Delaware).
“Even though it is a Grade 3 we have to consider purses since she has already won multiple Grade 1’s including the Breeders’ Cup. Jerry and I will decide shortly.”
“There’s not going to be much for her at Del Mar, so unless something changes, we would have to go elsewhere to run,” Hollendorfer remarked about the travel plans.
“I don’t know why people keep talking about running her against males. What would the point be?” he added. “Mr. Porter wants to run her next year, for sure, so why gamble going against colts now?”
Trainer John Shirreffs, who is no stranger to running a superstar mare (Zenyatta) against the boys, liked what he saw when he watched Songbird run in a race for the first time. The conditioner had Bellamentary entered in the Summertime Oaks against Songbird and his filly ended up second.
“Yesterday was the first time I saw her race live,” Shirreffs said. “I’ve seen her work a few times and I’ve seen her run on television. I thought she was magnificent yesterday. She looked so good.
“I saw Mike (Smith) kind of hunch over on her a little bit, get down on her out of the gate, and she went to the lead so easy. Then Bellamentary came up on her, matched strides briefly, and she said, ‘OK, I’ll let her go out in front for a little bit.’
“Then as soon as Bellamentary did, Songbird latched on and said, ‘Let’s see how well you want to run with me.’ She was just cruising, and she’s got such a great stride on her. She just picked it up. It looked like she was cantering home.
“It was a really hot day, but you didn’t even see any sweat on her neck or in between her legs. She was so composed.”
Smith, who has ridden the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro in every race, searched for adjectives Sunday to describe his experience with Songbird.
“I’m just blessed to be part of it,” the Hall of Fame jockey said. “She came out of the race good and she’s happy.
“I went to the barn this morning and she stuck her head out of the stall like nothing happened yesterday.”
Hollendorfer, meanwhile, didn’t deviate from his workaholic agenda Saturday night. How did he celebrate his birthday and the victory?
“I went home and went to bed.”
Songbird photo courtesy of Cecilia Gustavsson/Horsephotos.com