Songbird and Mike Smith before the Delaware Handicap

Songbird and Mike Smith before the Delaware Handicap

Chad B. Harmon

Songbird, Unique Bella Work at Del Mar

Champion Medaglia d'Oro filly is headed to Saratoga for the Personal Ensign (G1).

Jerry Hollendorfer's most talented fillies both put in important workouts Aug. 20 at Del Mar, but at very different stages in their training cycles.

The Hall of Fame trainer sent out Songbird for her final timed work in preparation for the Aug. 26 Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga Race Course, and the Medaglia d'Oro  filly impressed with an easy but quick four-furlong drill in :47 1/5.

"It was pretty nice," Hollendorfer said of the work, in which Songbird galloped out to five furlongs in :59 3/5.

Hollendorfer admitted Sunday that, coming out of Songbird's victory in the July 15 Delaware Handicap (G1)—in which she lacked the eye-catching brilliance of her previous efforts—he altered her training a bit when she returned to Del Mar.

NOVAK: Songbird Holds Fast in Delaware Handicap

"The Delaware effort was a mile and a quarter and it got her very fit," Hollendorfer said. "I didn't feel like I needed to be as hard on her (training for the Personal Ensign), so I spaced her works a little differently."

The nine-time grade 1 winner began her season with a score in the Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, and hasn't raced at Del Mar since she won the Del Mar Debutante (G1) in 2015. If all goes well, she'll find herself back at the seaside racetrack in November for the Breeders' Cup.

"She likes it here, but there really isn't a spot to run her and the owner (Fox Hill Farms' Rick Porter) has races he wants to run in," Hollendorfer said.

While Songbird's work got her ready for a top-level race, Don Alberto Stable's Unique Bella—once the favorite to win the 2017 Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1)—just dipped her toes into the water for the first time since a minor shin injury knocked the Tapit  filly out of training in March.

She covered three furlongs in :36 2/5 early in the morning at Del Mar.

"It's too early to tell if she's going to return to original form," Hollendorfer said of Unique Bella, who won the Santa Ynez (G2), Las Virgenes (G2), and Santa Ysabel (G3) stakes in 2017 before her break. "It wasn't a devastating injury, so it's quite possible she can return to form and she has a wealth of ability."

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Not one to tip his hand, Hollendorfer said there is no set race target for Unique Bella.