ARCADIA, Calif. (April 6, 2016)—With six perfect starts to her credit, Fox Hill Farms’ Songbird seeks to enhance her resume as she looms a prohibitive favorite among a field of seven 3-year-old fillies in Saturday’s Grade I, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks at 1 1/16 miles.
SONGBIRD: A winner of last year’s Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and eventual Eclipse Champion 2-year-old Filly for 2015, the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained daughter of Medaglia d’Oro comes off a pair of romping gate to wire wins at the current Winter Meet—a 6 ½ length win in the Grade II, one mile Las Virgenes on Feb. 6 and a 3 ¾ length tally in the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles Santa Ysabel on March 5.
Owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, Inc. and ridden in all six starts by Mike Smith, Songbird, who is being pointed to the Grade I Kentucky Oaks on May 6, is considered by some racing observers to perhaps be America’s most talented sophomore, irrespective of gender.
“She’s got things figured out at a very young age,” said Smith on an NTRA conference call on Tuesday. “Does that mean she’ll continue to grow and get even better? That’s scary to think about.”
FOREVER DARLING: A half length winner of the Grade II, 6 ½ furlong Santa Ynez Stakes two starts back on Jan. 2, this Kentucky-bred filly by Congrats never got untracked in the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fairgrounds in New Orleans Feb. 20 and in her only other two turn effort, was beaten 17 ¼ lengths by Songbird in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Oct. 31. Trained by Richard Baltas and owned by Yoshida Katsumi, Forever Darling will likely try to track the favorite and be intent on picking up a minor placing.
BELLAMENTARY: Trained by Phil D’Amato, this lightly raced daughter of Bellamy Road appears to be on the improve and will get the services of leading man Rafael Bejarano. A facile 3 ½ length maiden special weight winner going a flat mile here on Oct. 1, Bellamentary, with Bejarano up, cut back in distance and cruised to a 3 ¼ length score going seven furlongs on March 18. Favored in two out of her three starts, Bellamentary appears fresh and dangerous in her first graded stakes assignment.
THE GRADE I, $400,000 SANTA ANITA OAKS IN POST POSITION ORDER WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS
Race 7 (of 12) Approximate post time, 3:10 p.m. PDT
- Songbird—Mike Smith—123
- She’s a Warrior—Gary Stevens—120
- Jade Princess—Victor Espinoza—120
- Kay Kay—Alonso Quinonez—120
- Forever Darling—Martin Pedroza—120
- Mokat—Flavien Prat—120
- Bellamentary—Rafael Bejarano—120
Source: Santa Anita Park