Homeracing

Songbird remains unbeatable in Las Virgenes romp

Profile Picture: Jen Caldwell

February 7th, 2016

Fox Hill Farms’ Songbird lived up to all expectations in Saturday’s $300,345 Las Virgenes S. (G2) at Santa Anita Park, loping home the easiest of winners after leading throughout the one-mile contest.

The Medaglia d’Oro filly took command as soon as the gates opened and was never challenged while drawing off through fractions of :23.63, :47.01, 1:10.99 and 1:23.34. Songbird opened up even more in the stretch despite being geared down by jockey Mike Smith, who never moved an inch throughout the entire race.

The talented filly crossed under the wire 6 1/2 lengths in front of Land Over Sea, and stopped the clock in 1:36.84 for a mile on the fast main track. She paid $2.10 for the win after being sent off the prohibitive 1-9 favorite.

Songbird added another 10 points to the 30 she earned in 2015 on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks to remain firmly on top of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) leaderboard. Land Over Sea garnered five points and now rests in position 16 while She’s a Warrior joined the leaderboard with two points after finishing another 3 3/4 lengths back in third. Merirosvo also made her debut on the list when taking fourth.

Songbird continued the stellar campaign that began with a 6 1/2-length maiden score last July at Del Mar. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee made her stakes bow in the Del Mar Debutante (G1) and was 5 1/4 lengths clear on that occasion. She proceeded to take the Chandelier S. (G1) at Santa Anita Park before traveling to Keeneland to romp home an easy winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).

In addition to a perfect five-for-five mark and $1,682,000 in career earnings, Songbird also boasts an Eclipse Award as champion two-year-old filly of 2015. Fox Hill Farms purchased the Kentucky-bred filly, who was bred by John Antonelli, at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearlings Sale for $400,000.

Songbird is out of the Grade 2-winning West Acre mare Ivanavinalot, making her a half-sister to the dam of Mico Margarita.

Songbird photo courtesy of Cecilia Gustavsson/Horsephots.com

LAS VIRGENES QUOTES

Mike Smith, jockey Songbird: “She has such a high cruising speed, she has gears.

“You always worry about horses that are brilliant at two. Sometimes they won’t mature or grow anymore at three. You’re anxious to see what will happen.

“Favorite Trick was one that fooled me; he was brilliant as a two- year-old. He won all eight of his races at two but then didn’t win the biggest ones as a three-year-old. You’re anxious to get it over with and she seems to have improved. She seemed to up her game even more, especially mentally. She was very happy today and took it all in stride. I’m just blessed to be the one that has to make her carry the weight.”

Jerry Hollendorfer, trainer Songbird: “It was nice to get that race out of the way. No matter how good your horse is, you’ll always be a little bit anxious.

“The fans are starting to like her.

“She broke good, she has speed. There’s no doubt in my mind that she could rate if she had to, but usually she doesn’t have to. If somebody did something funny, I think she could be flexible and adjust to that.

“I was so pleased to see her way out there and cruising along pretty easy. At least now we got a race in her and we can try to make some more plans. We want to run here at Santa Anita. What we do between now and the (April 9) Santa Anita Oaks (G1), I don’t know. If we do anything. We’ll think about it and try to do the right thing.”

Rick Porter (Fox Hill Farms), owner Songbird: “It’s hard to explain the feeling. She just gives you goose bumps and you just wonder ‘How did I get this horse?’ I don’t think I’ve ever had one that’s so dominant and does things so easily.

“It would be nice to win the Kentucky Derby (G1), but I’d like to do it with a nice colt. I don’t like the (Kentucky Derby) point system. We’d have to run in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) with her. I think it’d be great for your ego, but the smart move is to stay on the path we’re on to the (Kentucky) Oaks.”

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