Saratoga Report #1: Songbird Sizzles at the Spa

Songbird - Coaching Club American Oaks - Saratoga - (Photo: Michael Spector)
Michael Spector

Three Stars of the Week

– 1st Star: SONGBIRD – All you can say is WOW…the super filly came to Saratoga and proved to the horse racing world that she’s the filly in charge of the three year old division.  Just like we all expected Songbird took the early lead with Carina Mia just behind her and ready to pounce.  When turning for home the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks started to feel just like the Travers last year…the champion was in trouble and under pressure.  Songbird turned that doubt into celebration with two cracks of the whip, and waved goodbye as she easily pulled away and crushed Carina Mia who had to settle for second.  Credit Carina Mia for being a filly good enough to finally ask Songbird the question of “What ya got?” but unfortunately for Carina Mia that answer was “Quite a lot!”  Songbird will now stay in Saratoga and target the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes!

– 2nd Star: DACITA – This filly just LOVES Saratoga!  Last year she was able to win the Grade 2 Ballston Spa on Travers Day, and on Saturday she returned to Saratoga to win the Grade 1 Diana Stakes.  The thing that makes that Ballston Spa win so impressive was who finished second in that race…the super freak Tepin who has not lost since that race!  The Diana was almost as impressive as she came from way out of it once again while having to rally six wide.  She just BARELY was able to get up in time to nose out Recpeta on the wire.  As much as she likes Saratoga you have to think we’ll be seeing her again down the road towards the end of this meet.

– 3rd Star: BITUMEN – This could be a rising star in the 2 year old ranks after a big win in the Grade 3 Stanford Stakes over the weekend.  Up the backside it looked as though Bitumen was struggling to get going as he was well back after setting the pace in his debut race.  However, it turned out he was just kindly sitting off a very hot pace up front which may have cooked the highly thought of Random Walk on the front end.  Once the stretch run came it was all over for Bitumen’s rivals as he cruised to an easy win.  Hopefully both him and Random Walk will make their next starts in either the Grade 2 Saratoga Special or the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes later on in the meet.

Flop of the Week

WEKEELA – This was actually the lowest priced Chad Brown horse in the Diana Stakes over the weekend, but she was totally empty in the stretch and finished last.  Maybe she’s just a little gassed from her trip to Santa Anita last time out.  I fully expect her to rebound.

Trainer Standings Jockey Standings
1. Kiaran McLaughlin – 6 1. Irad Ortiz Jr. – 8
2. Todd Pletcher – 5 2. John Velazquez – 6
3. Chad Brown – 3 3. Javier Castellano – 5
3. Jason Service – 3 4. Joel Rosario – 4
5. Jeramiah Englehart – 2 5. Jose Ortiz – 3
6. Jerry Hollendorfer – 1 5. Manny Franco – 3
6. Bill Mott – 1 5. Ricardo Santana Jr. – 3
6. Mark Casse – 1 8. Junior Alvarado – 2
6. Many others tied at 1 8. Luis Seaz – 2

Preview to Next Week

Wednesday, Jul 27 Honorable Miss Handicap II F&M 3&UP 6 Furlongs
Thursday, Jul 28 John Morrissey (NYB) 3&UP 6 1/2 Furlongs
Friday, Jul 29 Curlin 3YO 1 1/8
Saturday, Jul 30 Amsterdam II 3YO 6 1/2 Furlongs
Saturday, Jul 30 Bowling Green Handicap II 4&UP 1 3/8
Saturday, Jul 30 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap I 3&UP 6 Furlongs
Saturday, Jul 30 Jim Dandy II 3YO 1 1/8
Sunday, Jul 31 Shuvee Handicap III F&M 3&UP 1 1/8
Sunday, Jul 31 Caress F&M 4&UP 5 1/2
Monday, Aug 01 Coronation Cup F3YO 5 1/2


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