Making his first start in more than 17 months, the multiple graded stakes winner Songster ran third as the favorite in a six-furlong optional claiming allowance race at muddy Aqueduct Nov. 6.
The 5-year-old Songandaprayer horse, trained by Tom Albertrani for Darley Stable, was ridden by Edgar Prado at odds of 7-5 in his comeback race. They dueled for the lead for a half-mile while racing wide with eventual winner Grand Champion, guided by Eibar Coa, before weakening to finish 3 3/4 lengths behind. He's So Chic, with Jose Lezcano aboard, was second, 2 1/2 lengths behind Grand Champion.
Songster, who returned to training this spring after experiencing fertility issues in his first year at stud, carved quick opening fractions of :22.81 and :45.76 on the sealed track. The final time was 1:10 flat.
Suave Cash and Boss Zach trailed. Praying for Cash and Silver Stetson Man scratched, reducing the field to five.
Songster has four victories in nine lifetime starts, including wins in the Woody Stephens Breeders' Cup (gr. II) and Hirsch Jacobs (gr. III) stakes in 2006, and the Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III) in 2007.
Grand Champion, trained by Jimmy Jerkens, took charge in the stretch to record his sixth win in 15 starts. Grand Champion paid $8.20, $3.90 and $2.20. He’s So Chic returned $3.60 and $2.40. Songster was $2.10 to show.