G1 Cotillion : Songbird, plus posts, odds, and analysis

by | Sep 21, 2016 | Breaking, Handicapping, PA Racing, Pennsylvania, Racing

Songbird schooled in the paddock during the 6th race Tuesday in preparation for her start in Saturday’s $1,000,000 Grade I Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing. Photo By Taylor Ejdys/EQUI-PHOTO

by Frank Vespe

In recent years, the Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes has become a key stop for three-year-old fillies looking for year-end laurels.  Recent winners include I’m a Chatterbox, Untapable, Plum Pretty, Havre de Grace and Ashado.

Not bad for a race that, 40 years ago, had a purse of just $30,000.

These days — with the infusion of money from slot machines in the Keystone State — the Cotillion boasts a purse of $1 million, making it one of the nation’s richest races for distaff runners.

The 2016 edition, scheduled as race 10 on Saturday at Parx Racing, will bring together a short — but amazingly accomplished — field of six.  The overwhelming favorite figures to be undefeated Songbird, winner of 10 straight.

Songbird, the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee who will have regular rider Mike Smith up, breezed a half-mile in 47 3/5 seconds at Santa Anita on September 18 to tune up.

“She did her very best and did it easily,” Hollendorfer told media on an NTRA conference call. “We’re very pleased with the work, and she she came out of it very well.”

[su_box title=”G1 COTILLION STAKES ENTRIES” style=”glass”]For three-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles, $1,000,000 purse

  1. Carina Mia (5-1) — Julien Leparoux/Bill Mott — One of a trio of Grade 1 winners here, this Malibu Moon filly earned laurels when besting #2 in here in the G1 Acorn at one mile, and she followed that up with a steadfast challenge to favored #5 Songbird. She gets regular pilot Leparoux back in the irons and has done her best work running at a pace, which may mean a good trip here, as other speed types could heat it up early.  She’s lost two of her three tries beyond one mile.
  2. Cathryn Sophia (5-2) — Javier Castellano/John Servis — The popular Maryland-bred tuned up for this tilt with a facile score over the strip and owns two wins in Bensalem. That’s more significant than it sounds: not every runner takes to the Parx surface.  She won the G1 Kentucky Oaks at 1 1/8 miles in May, one of her three graded scores and beat #1 in here in the process. She disappointed when tiring to third at 4-5 in the Acorn, but other than that, there’s plenty to like here; versatile runner will lead or stalk and gets regular pilot and national leader Castellano in the irons.
  3. Disco Rose (20-1) — Edwin Rivera/Butch Reid — Butch Reid trainee flies the flag for the local racing community but figures to be overmatched against the likes of these, has been thrashed twice by #2 Cathryn Sophia, and even lost to race longshot #6 Queen Esther.  She’s been on the engine early in her best recent efforts.
  4. Land Over Sea (10-1) — Mario Gutierrez/Doug O’Neill — G2 Fair Grounds Oaks winner gave a good accounting of herself when runner-up to #2 Cathryn Sophia in the Kentucky but disappointed when sixth as the fave in the G2 Black-Eyed Susan.  Let’s not hold her last, when 26-1 on the lawn, too harshly against her — but let’s not ignore she broke her maiden on the green either. She was defeated by #5 Songbird five consecutive times earlier in their careers. Bottom line: she’ll need a serious form reversal, and a ton of breaks, to get a picture taken here.
  5. Songbird (1-2) — Mike Smith/Jerry Hollendorfer — Just wow. How good is this Bellamy Road filly? Ten wins from 10 tries, $2.7 million in the bank, six grade one victories, wins at four different tracks, and a two-year-old championship — that’s how good. Regular pilot Mike Smith will ride (and you have to believe he’d go to the ends of the earth to keep this mount).  The Medaglia d’Oro filly has been on the lead or pressing the leader early in all of her prior tries, and a repeat of that seems probable here.  She owns five wins at the trip, so distance here is no concern.  In each of her last three starts, and seven of 10 overall, she has added to her advantage in the final furlong.  Rivals have to be hoping it’s not her day, she’s fighting for the lead through a 44-second half-mile — or the van makes a wrong turn and ends up in Erie.
  6. Queena Esther (30-1) — Carol Cedeno/Juan Vazquez — There’s nothing wrong with what this Juan Vazquez trainee has done to date. But there’s also nothing to suggest she’s the sort to beat these.  She lost to two of these rivals last out and was 15 lengths behind the winner #2 Cathryn Sophia.