SHE’S ‘BEEN READY’ TO TAKE ON MALE COMPETITION SAYS SMITH
ARCADIA, Calif. (June 18, 2016)–How good is she? Although that question wasn’t answered completely, it would appear the sky continues to be the limit for superstar filly Songbird as she remained undefeated with yet another sensational performance, winning Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Summertime Oaks by 6 ½ lengths under Mike Smith while covering a mile and a sixteenth geared down in 1:42.63. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, Inc., the Kentucky-bred daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, idle since winning the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks on April 9, ran her unbeaten skein to eight on Saturday and will likely ship east for her next engagement.
“I was very happy the way she looked going down the backside,” said Hollendorfer. “She was very comfortable, with her ears up, looking for something. The opportunity presented itself to be just a little off the pace and now we’ve shown everyone we can do that.
“I don’t know about (facing males in the Grade I Haskell, 1 1/8 miles on July 31 at Monmouth Park). Mr. Porter likes having input on these things so we’ll talk it over and make a plan, see what happens. I wouldn’t think we’d go to the Haskell, but there are plenty of races for her and we’ve talked about several of them.
“I think we’ll stick with the girls for now and see what happens. I’m thrilled, really.”
Dispatched at five cents on the dollar, Songbird paid $2.10 across the board and she generated a minus show pool of $201,400, as a staggering $1,017,594, out of a total show pool of $1,081,223 was bet on her to run no worse than third.
With eventual second place finisher Bellamentary, who was ridden by Martin Garcia, sent from the opening bell, Songbird rated beautifully in second, cruised to the lead leaving the three furlong pole and cruised to victory in a manner befitting a champion.
When asked if he thought last year’s Eclipse Award winning 2-year-old Filly could’ve run faster, Smith responded, “A lot faster. If I’d even just gathered her up and asked her, there’s no telling how fast she can run. She jumped out of there very well today. The opportunity presented itself to sit just off Bellamentary going into the first turn and she didn’t allow me to take her back any further than she wanted me to take her back.
“She stayed in the spot that she wanted to be, cruising alongside of her and it’s just amazing, her cruising speed. She started lengthening her stride on the backside…and I knew we were comfortable…I knew she was going to fire today. I just tried to stay out of her way. She has wings on her hooves, I swear…It scares me to think of how good she is, I try not to think of it.”
With speculation continuing as to whether or not she’s ready to take on male competition, Smith responded, “She’s been ready. She’s just that talented.”
With her win today, Songbird has now won her eight starts by a combined 42 ½ lengths. With the winner’s share of $120,000, her earnings now stand at $2,102,000.
Bellamentary, who took on the unenviable assignment of challenging the winner early, held off longshot Kay Kay by a nose for second money. The second choice in field of five 3-year-old fillies at 7-1, Bellamentary paid $2.40 and $2.10.
Ridden by Alonso Quinonez, Kay Kay, who was next to last around the Club House turn, was the longest shot in the field and paid $3.40 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.97, 45.95, 1:10.28 and 1:35.71.
LONGSHOT MR. ROARY TAKES $75,000 RAINBOW STAKES
Earlier in the day, longshot Mr. Roary took the $75,000, 1 1/8 miles turf Rainbow Stakes in gate to wire fashion under Edwin Maldonado. A maiden, Mr. Roary, a 3-year-old gelding by Scat Daddy, was winless in eight races coming into the Rainbow. Trained by George Papaprodromou and owned by Kretz Racing, LLC, he held off Ralis, a winner of the Grade I Hopeful Stakes last summer at Saratoga, by a nose and paid $78.00 to win.
“He broke his maiden and beat a Grade I winner,” said Papaprodromou. “He’s been running good and we just decided to take a shot.”
Mr. Roary got the distance in 1:47.48.
Due to predicted high heat, Santa Anita has moved first post time for a nine-race card on Sunday up to 12 noon. Admission gates will open at 10:30 a.m.