Songbird ‘likely’ to record final KY Oaks move at Santa Anita

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TwinSpires Staff

April 10th, 2016

Edited Press Release

Superstar filly Songbird won her seventh straight race with consummate ease Saturday, taking the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) by 3 3/4 lengths, leading throughout the 1 1/16-mile race as is her wont despite breaking from the rail and running over a sloppy track.

Now, it’s on to Kentucky for the undefeated daughter of Medaglia d’Oro owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms for her next major goal, the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 6.

“Songbird came out of the race in perfect order,” Jerry Hollendorfer said on an overcast but rain-free Sunday morning at Santa Anita, where it was business as usual for the Hall of Fame trainer, assistant Dan Ward, and their team.

“She seems very good this morning,” Hollendorfer continued. “We have to wait to make shipping plans because there will be a lot of horses going back and forth at that time (for the May 7 Kentucky Derby [G1] and the Oaks).

“We’ll try and make the most advantageous arrangements. Songbird will stay here and likely have her last work at Santa Anita before the Oaks and then ship.”

Many in yesterday’s on-track crowd of 27,821, obviously diminished due to rainy weather that resulted in a sloppy but sealed main track throughout the 12-race program, came to see Songbird, who is joining Zenyatta, California Chrome and American Pharoah as recent fan magnets.

“She has a pretty good fan base,” Hollendorfer said of last year’s Eclipse Award winning champion two-year-old filly. “We’re very pleased about that.

“A lot of the horses from California are doing pretty good right now, so we’ll see what happens in Kentucky.”

Trainer Richard Baltas, who saddled Mokat to a runner-up finish behind Songbird in the Santa Anita Oaks, was full of praise for the unbeaten filly.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Songbird is a champion,” Baltas stated. “We ran into a horse that’s a true champion, it’s that simple. There aren’t many like her, and you can say the same the same thing about Nyquist.

“We’re in a year where we have two juvenile champions and they’re both going into the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby undefeated. It’s very exciting.

“Mokat ran her race and we’re very happy running second to Songbird. (Jockey) Flavien (Prat) said she wasn’t really handling the track, so if she comes back good, we’ll try Songbird one more time in the Kentucky Oaks.”

Songbird photo courtesy of Benoit Photos