Seemingly never out of a high gallop, Fox Hill Farms’s unbeaten champion Songbird (Medaglia d’Oro) made it six-for-six without ever breaking a sweat in customary wire-to-wire fashion in Saturday’s GIII Santa Ysabel S. at Santa Anita. Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and owner Rick Porter are sticking to their guns and continuing on to the GI Kentucky Oaks with their ‘TDN Rising Star.’ “The [GI] Santa Anita Oaks [Apr. 9] would be next, and if she looks real good, we’ll try to think about Kentucky [for the Oaks at Churchill Downs May 6],” Hollendorfer said. “I don’t like to think too far ahead, but that’s our long-term goal. The intermediate [races] are what we’ve been doing. I don’t take anything for granted. I’m very grateful to win a race like this. I didn’t want to work her into the [Santa Anita] Oaks. I wanted to have a prep and we got the prep today.”
Songbird, off as the 1-9 favorite, went straight to the front, set the pace through a half-mile in :46.02 and opened up a insurmountable advantage on the far turn. With jockey Mike Smith sitting motionless in the saddle, Songbird coasted home well clear over her familiar rival Land Over Sea, who has chased her home in five straight races, including runner-up finishes in the GI Chandelier S. Sept. 26 and GII Las Virgenes S. Feb. 6. There was a minus place pool on the race of $4,900.37 and a minus show pool of $158,462.66.
“It’s such a fantastic feeling when you get a horse like this,” Poter said. “I’ve had some good ones, but I’m not sure I’ve ever had one this good. Today was mostly about keeping her tuned. There’s two months between the Santa Anita Oaks and the Las Virgenes. Jerry and I talked and we felt that instead of working her to death, we would pick this race, even though a Grade III wasn’t the best thing, but it turned out fine and she got plenty out of this race. They tried to challenge her. Mike [Smith] just has a way with her. He knows how to ride her just perfect.
Songbird earned the honor of champion juvenile filly last year after capturing all four of her races, including Grade I scores in the Del Mar Debutante, Chandelier and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She recently returned to action with a dominant score in the Las Virgenes S.
Smith added, “It was incredible. I got a bit star struck when I looked over at the big screen to see if I needed to do a little bit of work and I was just in awe of how easily she was doing things, again. I couldn’t seem to take my eyes off the big screen. I told myself, ‘I better get back to it and stay on.’ She was really on her game.”
Songbird’s dam Ivanavinalot, winner of the 2003 GII Bonnie Miss S., produced a filly by Ghostzapper in 2015 and was bred back to Tapizar.
Saturday, Santa Anita
SANTA YSABEL S.-GIII, $101,380, SA, 3-5, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:43.02, ft.
1–SONGBIRD, 123, f, 3, by Medaglia d’Oro
1st Dam: Ivanavinalot (GSW, $647,300), by West Acre
2nd Dam: Beaty Sark, by Deputy Minister
3rd Dam: Torsion Belle, by Torsion
($400,000 Ylg ’14 FTSAUG). O-Fox Hill Farms, Inc.; B-JohnAntonelli (KY); T-Jerry Hollendorfer; J-Mike E. Smith. $60,000.Lifetime Record: Ch. 2yo Filly, MGISW, 6-6-0-0, $1,742,000.
Click for eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating:A+++ *Triple Plus*
2–Land Over Sea, 119, f, 3, Bellamy Road–Belle Watling, by Pulpit. ($42,000 Ylg ’14 KEESEP; $130,000 2yo ’15 OBSAPR). O-Reddam Racing LLC; B-Jack Swain (KY); T-Doug F. O’Neill. $20,000.
3–Mokat, 119, f, 3, Uncle Mo–Flashy Frolic, by Premiership.($52,000 RNA Ylg ’14 KEESEP). O-J K Racing Stable; B-Charles S Giles (KY); T-Richard Baltas. $12,000.
Margins: 3 3/4, 3HF, 1 3/4. Odds: 0.05, 13.30, 42.10.
Also Ran: Jade Princess, Pageant Material, Merirosvo, Code Warrior, My Dynamo, Not Now Carolyn. Scratched: Street Fancy.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.