Songbird, Smokey Image record easy works at Santa Anita; Ziconic shows promise in debut

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TwinSpires Staff

February 21st, 2016

Edited Press Release

Undefeated champion filly Songbird could make her next start in Santa Anita Park’s $100,000 Santa Ysabel (G2) for three-year-old fillies on March 5.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer did not rule out the 1 1/16-mile contest after the Medaglia d’Oro filly worked five furlongs over Santa Anita’s fast main track Sunday in 1:00.80 under regular rider Mike Smith.

Asked if Songbird might run in the Santa Ysabel before the $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G1) on April 9, Hollendorfer left the door open, saying, “I haven’t made my mind up,” but either way, he was delighted with the work.

“A minute and four-fifths and just as easy as you please,” he said.

Smith summed up the work in one word: “Brilliant.”

Songbird made her three-year-old debut in the Las Virgenes (G2) at a mile on February 6, winning off “by a pole” as the saying goes, the actual margin being 6 1/2 lengths.

The filly wasn’t the only unbeaten runner working well at Santa Anita on Sunday.

Undefeated multiple stakes winner Smokey Image covered five furlongs in company in 1:00.40 under Victor Espinoza ahead of his first foray in a graded race, the $400,000 San Felipe (G2) at 1 1/16 miles on March 12.

The California-bred son of Southern Image worked with Excessive Kid, who was clocked in 1:01 flat.

“I just worked him in company to give him a little target,” trainer Carla Gaines said of Smokey Image, who captured the California Cup Derby by 8 1/2 lengths last out on January 30 while making his sophomore bow.

“He did it pretty easily,” Gaines said of the workout.

In other news out of Southern California, Ziconic had an encouraging debut on Saturday at Santa Anita Park for trainer John Shirreffs and jockey Gary Stevens.

Ziconic is the second registered foal out of 2010 Horse of the Year and multiple champion older mare Zenyatta and, like his dam, closed from 15 lengths last at the half-mile marker to finish third, beaten less than two lengths, in Saturday’s 3RD race, a seven-furlong maiden special weight.

The Tapit chestnut sophomore broke a bit slowly from his No. 5 post position in a field of seven three-year-olds and finished well after going wide into the stretch under Stevens.

“We knew he was going to break slow and it took him a little while to get wound up,” Stevens said. “I was at the three-eighths pole and was so far back I said, ‘Buddy, your momma could win from here, do it!’

“I told John that I never got to ride the big mare Zenyatta but I know what she felt like now.

“They’re going to have a lot of fun with Ziconic. The best part is that he enjoys his job, he loved what he was doing, especially that last eighth of a mile.”

Ziconic photo courtesy of Benoit Photos