Songbird Remains Undefeated in Santa Anita Oaks
Songbird has long been regarded as one of the best 3-year-old racehorses this year – female or male — and her win Saturday in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks did nothing to change that impression.
The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro and Ivanavinalot easily put away her competition as the 1-10 favorite to remain undefeated in her seventh start, winning by 3 ¾ lengths under jockey Mike Smith over second-place finisher Mokat on a sloppy track at rain-soaked Santa Anita Park.
But Songbird’s trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and owner Rick Porter of Fox Hill Farm don’t have any qualms about their decision to run her against fillies in next month’s Kentucky Oaks instead of against the boys in the Kentucky Derby.
“No, no second thoughts at all,” Hollendorfer said after her latest win, noting that she’ll likely be the favorite in the Kentucky Oaks.
Porter agreed that it was best to keep Songbird running against fillies for the time being.
“There (are) a lot of good races and there’ll be a time if she’s good enough to take on the boys like we did with Havre de Grace,” he said, referring to the filly who at age 4 took on her male counterparts twice in 2011 with a win in the Woodward and a fourth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Of Songbird, Porter said, “I think she’s too young to take on the boys (in the Kentucky Derby) with that big 20-horse stampede coming down.”
Right now, he’s appreciating his good fortune watching a horse “time after time perform unasked to do what she’s been doing.”
“I’m just so fortunate to have a horse like this,” Porter said.
He noted that he had watched the longshot Weep No More beat the highly regarded Rachel’s Valentina and Cathryn Sophia earlier in the afternoon in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland.
“I don’t know all the horses in the Oaks, but I think those were certainly two or three of the better ones,” Porter said. “I thought Rachel’s Valentina (who came in second to Songbird in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies) ran a very nice race, and I think she’ll be a little bit to be reckoned with, but I don’t think anything told me that we’ve got a lot to worry about, I mean, nothing’s scaring me out of the race.”