If Songbird ever had a poor workout, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer doesn't remember it.
Week in and week out, Fox Hill Farms' undefeated Medaglia d'Oro filly goes fast and easy every time she works for her Hall of Fame trainer. Her Oct. 20 drill at Santa Anita Park was just the latest example.
In her third timed breeze for the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I), champion Songbird ran six furlongs in 1:12 4/5. Hollendorfer got a good view of the champion 2-year-old filly of 2015 through his extra-large binoculars from the Santa Anita grandstand, but to the naked eye, Songbird looked like a speedy speck in the early morning light as she broke off in the backstretch under exercise rider Edgar Rodriguez.
The bay filly ran furlong fractions of :12 4/5, :24 4/5, :36 2/5, :48 2/5, and 1:00 2/5 before cruising to the wire. As she entered the stretch she displayed her familiar easy but powerful stride, and galloped out to seven furlongs in 1:26 flat. Hollendorfer, who admittedly timed his filly a few ticks slower than the Santa Anita clockers, had her gallop out to a mile in 1:39 4/5.
"Very nice and smooth," Hollendorfer said after the drill. "All horses are different. Some horses aren't good work horses, but she happens to be a very good work horse. There are really good horses, though, that aren't.
"We had a horse—Wild Dude—that won graded races and if he worked 1:03 we were happy for five furlongs. All horses are different."
Hollendorfer said he's considering working Songbird two more times before the Nov. 4 Distaff, where she is expected to take on fellow champions Beholder and Stellar Wind, but he isn't sure of the spacing for those drills. He also wasn't positive whether jockey Mike Smith would be aboard in her final two works.
Songbird has won all of her 11 starts, including seven grade I races, but the 3-year-old has never faced older fillies and mares.
"She's done very well so far, but so have all the horses that are going in the Distaff," Hollendorfer said. "There's two big races that the fans will be super interested in, not counting the other outstanding races this year. Songbird, Stellar Wind, and Beholder, and California Chrome and (Bob Baffert's) horses (in the Breeders' Cup Classic, gr. I)—that's going to be good to watch."