A Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) for the ages on paper played out in real time in the most dramatic and epic way.
"If somebody wants to be in front of Songbird, they can go ahead and try," said Mike Smith, a day before the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I).
With the potential of rain looming in Southern California, several Breeders' Cup horses got an early start Oct. 27 at Santa Anita Park, headlined by Fox Hill Farms' undefeated Songbird.
Week in and week out, Fox Hill Farms' undefeated Medaglia d'Oro filly goes fast and easy every time she breezes for her Hall of Fame trainer. Her Oct. 20 drill at Santa Anita Park was just the latest example.
Once the most highly-touted of the Fox Hill Farm runners, Southern Girl has taken her time in carving out a name for herself under trainer Larry Jones
A little more than three weeks out from their upcoming showdown in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I), champions Beholder and Songbird went about their business minutes apart during the earliest morning workout session at Santa Anita Park.
The hum of nearby Interstate 210 was all that was audible from the Santa Anita Park grandstand before trainer Jerry Hollendorfer broke the silence with the sharp "beep" of his stopwatch as Songbird began her workout from the half-mile pole Oct. 6.
- By Myra Lewyn
- Thoroughbred Racing, Breeders' Cup, Northeast Region, West Region, Mid-Atlantic Region
Fox Hill Farms' undefeated Songbird logged her final serious work at Santa Anita Park Sept. 18 before her Sept. 19 flight east, where she is scheduled to start in the Sept. 24 Cotillion Stakes (gr. I) at Parx Racing.
Fox Hill Farms' undefeated champion Songbird, now settled back in at her home base in Southern California following a pair of grade I wins at Saratoga Race Course, put in her first workout Aug. 31 in preparation for the $1 million Cotillion (gr. I).
Stretching out to 1 1/4 miles for the first time proved no problem for unbeaten filly Songbird as the 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro waltzed to a clear lead in the far turn and was never challenged late in the $600,000 Alabama Stakes (gr. I).
Fox Hill Farms' champion Songbird returned to the worktab for the first time since her victory in the Coaching Club American Oaks for what trainer Jerry Hollendorfer described as a "perfect work."
Songbird, as if she wanted to toy with onlookers and viewers across the nation to build the drama, took Carina Mia's best shot during the final turn in the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I), but was still able to win in her signature fashion.
Champion Songbird logged her first gallop over Saratoga Race Course's main track July 22.
Champion Songbird will put her perfect record on the line July 23 in the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course, which features a purse pumped up from $300,000 to $500,000 to attract the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro.
Fox Hill Farm's undefeated champion Songbird arrived at Saratoga Race Course just before 8 p.m. EDT July 20 in advance of her upcoming engagement in the $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) July 24.
Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Nyquist and undefeated 3-year-old filly Songbird both were put through workouts July 17 at Del Mar in preparation for top-level East Coast starts this summer.
Songbird worked five furlongs on Santa Anita Park's main track in 1:01 July 2 in preparation for her East Coast summer campaign.
Songbird didn't have the early lead for the first time in her career, but the result remained the same in the $200,000 Summertime Oaks (gr. II) June 18 at Santa Anita Park.
A low-grade fever may have knocked Fox Hill Farms' undefeated champion Songbird out of the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), but her 3-year-old campaign will restart June 18 in the $200,000 Summertime Oaks (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park.
After a positive seven-furlong workout from undefeated Songbird June 11 at Santa Anita Park, owner Rick Porter said the champion filly is ready to make her return to racing June 18 in the $200,000 Summertime Oaks (gr. II).
Fox Hill Farms' undefeated Songbird worked five furlongs in 1:00 on Santa Anita Park's fast main track shortly after daybreak May 29 with exercise rider Edgar Rodriguez aboard.
Fox Hill Farms' Songbird grabbed the early lead and easily captured her seventh win in seven starts to take the grade I Santa Anita Oaks at Santa Anita Park April 9 and remain the dominant favorite for the Kentucky Oaks.
Fox Hill Farms' Songbird was the emphatic odds-on choice following three days of wagering in Churchill Downs' 2016 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, which drew to a close March 13.
Songbird, perfect in six races after her front-running, 3 3/4-length victory in the Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) March 5, was fittingly "perfect" the morning of March 6.
Like seemingly every start before, Songbird shot to the lead March 5 at Santa Anita Park and humbled a field of overmatched fillies in the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III).
Nine fillies were entered to take on undefeated Songbird in the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) March 5 at Santa Anita Park, and more than half of them were previously humbled by the Fox Hill Farms runner.
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith is generally a pretty cheerful guy, but when he brings Songbird back to the Jerry Hollendorfer barn after her workouts, his mood hits another level.
It was more of the same for Fox Hill Farms' undefeated champion Medaglia d'Oro filly Songbird Feb. 21 when she cruised through a five-furlong work under Mike Smith in 1:00 4/5 at Santa Anita Park.
In her first timed workout since the easiest of scores in the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. II), Fox Hill Farms' undefeated Songbird covered four furlongs on Santa Anita Park's fast main track Feb. 14 in :48 2/5.
Songbird ambled home to win the $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 6 at Santa Anita , 6 1/2 lengths ahead of Land Over Sea, but Smith had such a tight hold on her, the margin might as well have been 26 1/2 lengths.
Fox Hill Farms' undefeated Songbird will make her 2016 debut in the $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 6 and will again be a commanding favorite when the gates open at Santa Anita Park.
Treated for a suspensory issue and osselets at Rood & Riddle, the 5-year-old daughter of Tapit returned in her second start off the layup to win the Dec. 13 She's All In Handicap. Her connections hope for another win Jan. 30.
Unbeaten Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) winner Songbird, the overwhelming favorite to be named champion 2-year-old filly Jan. 16, worked six furlongs 1:14 2/5 on Santa Anita Park's fast main track Jan. 14.
The undefeated filly will have two prep races heading toward the Longines Kentucky Oaks.
Songbird delivered a beautiful performance Oct. 31 in the $2 million 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), controlling the pace throughout and winning by 5 3/4 lengths over Rachel's Valentina.
Songbird, the unbeaten daughter of Medaglia d'Oro, is the morning-line favorite for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) for a reason.
Under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith just as the sun peeked over the horizon, 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) contender Songbird breezed four furlongs in :47 2/5.
Fox Hill Farm's Songbird continued her winning ways in style Sept. 26, drawing clear by 4 1/2 lengths in the $300,000 Chandelier Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park to build a 3-for-3 record.
Trying two turns for the first time proved perilous for Fox Hill Farms' Kentuckian, as Gimme Da Lute stalked and held off oncoming Prospect Park by a nose to win the $350,000 Los Alamitos Derby July 4.
For the second year in a row, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer appears to have an overwhelming favorite in the $350,000 Los Alamitos Derby (gr. II) July 4 at Los Alamitos Race Course.
Fox Hill Farms' Normandy Invasion, away from the races for more than a year in part because of a fractured right front sesamoid, is scheduled to return in a $36,000 allowance event July 1 at Delaware Park.
If Firing Line is ready for a return in the Los Alamitos Derby (gr. II) July 4, he may run into a familiar rival in Kaleem Shah's Dortmund.
Just months after Bal a Bali beat a case of laminitis, the Brazilian Triple Crown winner's connections will continue to ask him for more in the $400,000 Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) June 13 at Santa Anita Park.
With a clean trip, Fox Hill Farms' Kentuckian showed his unquestioned talent to win the $100,000 Lazaro Barrera Stakes (gr. III) in commanding fashion May 10 at Santa Anita Park.
Brazilian Triple Crown winner Bal a Bali made a splash in his U.S. debut, capturing the $100,000 American Stakes (gr. IIIT) May 9 at Santa Anita Park.
Speed was paramount for Hronis Racing's Yiannis in his win over a talented group 3-year-olds in the San Pedro Stakes April 12, and he'll face another field of spry sophomores in the $100,000 Lazaro Barrera Stakes (gr. III).
Bal a Bali will look to carry his impressive success in Brazil into his first U.S. start, the $100,000 American Stakes (gr. IIIT) May 9 at Santa Anita Park.
In a race loaded with front-runners, Yiannis came out on top in the $75,000 San Pedro Stakes, a test loaded with late-blooming 3-year-old talent, April 12 at Santa Anita Park.
While Shared Belief was still in the paddock before the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) March 7, about 350 miles north, another Jerry Hollendorfer protege was emerging.
Constitution notched his second grade I victory Feb. 7 at Gulfstream Park and did so impressively, taking the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) wire-to-wire while holding off 2014 Donn victor Lea.
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