Track Reports

Santa Anita Stable Notes: Songbird Drill ‘Just What We Wanted’

Songbird and Mike Smith workout Thursday morning - Photo Credit: ©Clockers' Corner/Zoe Metz
©Clockers' Corner/Zoe Metz

Unbeaten Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Songbird, who will officially be crowned Eclipse Award champion two-year-old filly of 2015 at the ceremonial dinner Saturday at Gulfstream Park, worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Thursday in 1:14.40.

The Kentucky-bred daughter of Medaglia d’Oro owned by Rick Porter’s Foxhill Farms, Inc. is scheduled to make her three-year-old debut in the Grade II, $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes at one mile on Feb. 6.

“It was real good,” trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said of the workout. “It was just what we wanted today. She galloped out (seven furlongs) in 1:28.”

Santa Anita clocker Dane Nelson had fractional times of 26 flat, 38.20, 50.20 and 1:02.40, with a gallop-out time of 1:27.80.

Taris tries to carry her vaunted speed further than she ever has when she runs in Saturday’s Grade II La Canada Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.

She won Aqueduct’s Grade III Go for Wand at a mile on Nov. 27, but finished sixth in the Grade III Honeybee at Oaklawn Park in March of 2014.

The 5-year-old Flatter mare drew the outside post position in a field of seven, which should be to her advantage.

“I think the outside post is pretty good,” trainer Simon Callaghan said. “I thought maybe there could be some other speed, but we’ll see how the race unfolds.

“We’re on the outside and can pretty much go to the lead or sit off it. She’s very tractable or very easy to put wherever we want her.”

The field: Tara’s Tango, Martin Garcia, 4-1; supplemental entry Illuminant, Flavien Prat, 8-1; Oscar Party, Santiago Gonzalez, 20-1; Honey Ride, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Yahilwa, Mike Smith, 5-2; Birdatthewire, Drayden Van Dyke, 3-1; and Taris, Gary Stevens, 2-1.

Richard Baltas expects to have three for the money in Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday feature, the Grade III, $100,000 Megahertz Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf.

“It’s the most I’ve entered in one race, certainly one stakes race,” said Santa Anita’s training leader through 11 racing days with seven victories from 24 starts, a dazzling 29 percent success rate.

“All three are solid horses,” Baltas said, “although each has a different running style. We’ll let them run their own race and see how it works out.”

Baltas plans to enter front-running Chaulk O Lattey, second in the Kathyrn Crosby at Del Mar Nov. 7; Miss America Stakes runner-up Journey On, who is usually on or in close attendance to the pace; and Tiz a Kiss, a stone closer making her stakes debut.

Probable for the Megahertz: Beat of The Drum, Flavien Prat; Chaulk O Lattey, Rafael Bejarano; Glory, Mike Smith; Journey On, Mario Gutierrez; and Tiz a Kiss, Santiago Gonzalez.

More Than Less tries an uncommon distance when she runs in Sunday’s $75,000 Astra Stakes at a mile-and-a-half on turf, but Peter Eurton is hoping for a big effort from a big filly.

“She’s a big, tall filly but seems to have a steady pace about her,” the trainer said of the four-year-old daughter of More Than Ready owned by Marc Ferrell.

“We think she can get the distance because of her size. The key thing is, hopefully she relaxes and kind of chills for a while.”

The Astra will be the first stakes race for the five-year-old Kentucky-bred mare, who finished sixth in a one-mile overnight race Dec. 30, her first start in 10 months.

Thoroughbred racing fans can find exclusive content from behind the scenes of the 45th Annual Eclipse Awards Saturday by following the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, @NTRA, on Twitter.

Followers can expect plenty of candid images from backstage in the Sport of Kings Theatre at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino, featuring Eclipse Award winners and the presenters.

To join in the social media conversation surrounding the Eclipse Awards, the NTRA is urging viewers to use the hashtag #EclipseAwards. Backstage scenes will be tagged #BehindtheCurtain.

In addition to @NTRA, other accounts expected to be very active during the show include those of title sponsors Breeders’ Cup Ltd. (@BreedersCup) and Daily Racing Form (@DRFInsidePost), as well as the industry-supported fan development initiative America’s Best Racing (@ABRLive).

The Eclipse Awards will be live streamed on  and Pre-show coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time with the ceremony set for 5 p.m.

The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-century racehorse and foundation sire Eclipse, who began racing at age five and was undefeated in 18 starts, including eight walkovers. Eclipse sired the winners of 344 races, including three Epsom Derbies.

The Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements in North America have earned them the title of Champion in their respective categories. Those awards are voted by NTRA, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB). Eclipse Awards also are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing.

The Arcadia Historical Society’s Thoroughbred Racing Walk of Champions will celebrate the induction of honorees for 2015 and 2016 at a gala on Tuesday, May 24.

The event will be held from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. at the historic core of the

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, site of Lucky Baldwin’s

landmark Queen Anne Cottage and matching Carriage Barn and birthplace

of racing in Southern California. The theme will be “Salute in Red and

Black,” honoring Baldwin’s racing colors.

Equine inductees will be champions Zenyatta and Lava Man. Champion jockey

Chris McCarron, training stars Gary Jones, Ron McAnally, Mike Mitchell, and

Mel Stute, and breeder/owner Buddy Johnston’s Old English Rancho also

will be honored.

Victor Espinoza, the only active jockey to have won racing’s Triple Crown will receive special recognition for his achievements in the sport and community service.

Proceeds from the celebration will fund the placement of 24” by 24”engraved informational bronze plaques in the sidewalks of downtown Arcadia.

With the opening of the new Arcadia station of the Metro System Gold Line in March 2016, more attention than ever will be drawn to the business district adjacent to Santa Anita Park.

In addition to the Walk of Champions, several other Thoroughbred racing charities will be beneficiaries of the gala, including California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Foundation (which serves the backstretch community with health services), Winners Foundation (providing confidential assistance for troubled members of the community), and California Thoroughbred Foundation (dedicated to the advancement of equine research and education).

The Steering Committee for the Walk of Champions includes Beth Costanza, Gail Marshall, and Sandy Snider, all with long ties to the City of Arcadia, who supervised its dedication in the historic downtown of the City of Arcadia on Sept. 27, 2014, as a permanent acknowledgement of the significant role racing has played in not only the city’s storied past, but also its promising future. Santa Anita Park is the Founding Sponsor of the Walk of Champions.

The Arcadia Historical Society greatly appreciates any donation made in support of this educational outreach effort.

The Society is a not‐for‐profit 501(c) (3), and contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law, at Walk of Champions, PO Box 661332, Arcadia, CA, 91066‐1332. 

FINISH LINES: This Monday, Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Santa Anita will offer another of its popular Dollar Days, with draft beers, hot dogs and sodas on sale for just a buck. Santa Anita’s Infield will be open on MLK Day, this Monday.  Santa Anita will be dark Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week. Live racing will resume Friday, Jan. 22, at 1 p.m. . . . Tomorrow’s Late Pick 4 has a guaranteed pool of $300,000, as does the Late Pick 4 on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This weekend, the Late Pick 4 guarantee balloons to $500,000 Saturday and Sunday . . . Two-time Eclipse Award champion Beholder arrived Sunday at Santa Anita from Peacefield Farm in Temecula, underwent routine tests, and will head to Julie Adair-Stack’s facility in Chino Hills to continue preparations for her return to the races, according to Richard Mandella, who has the Grade I Vanity Stakes on June 4 as a long-range goal for the daughter of Henny Hughes owned by B. Wayne Hughes . . . Jockey Mario Gutierrez rides Frank Conversation for Doug O’Neill in Saturday’s $100,000 California Derby at Golden Gate Fields . . . Jockey Ty Kennedy packed his tack for greener pastures Sunday, saying he just “needs a break.” He had one win from 19 mounts, with three seconds and two thirds, before departing . . . Guns Loaded, 5-2 morning line favorite in today’s fifth race, has been claimed four times in his last five races . . . Aces high: Out of Patience, 6-1 morning line chance in today’s second race, drew the one hole for the fourth straight time and for the sixth time in his last 10 races . . . Kent Desormeaux is suspended three days (Jan. 16, 17 and 18) for causing interference aboard Let’s Meet in Rio in Saturday’s Grade III Sham Stakes. The horse finished second, and after a stewards’ inquiry, there was no disqualification.

Source: Santa Anita Park

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