Songbird gallops to Cotillion triumph
Songbird cruised to a win in the G1 Cotillion. Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO
by Frank Vespe
The question of how good Songbird actually is remains unanswered.
What is pretty clear, however, is that she’s tons better than just about any of the rest of the three-year-old distaff class.
The Medaglia d’Oro filly struck again today in the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing, laying waste to a short but talented field that included two other Grade 1 winners and a Grade 2 winner. When the smoke had cleared, Songbird and jockey Mike Smith had cruised to a 5 3/4 length romp, giving her 11 wins from 11 starts — none by less than three lengths.
“She just continues to amaze me,” said Rick Porter, whose Fox Hill Farms owns Songbird. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have some nice horses. Even though we’ve won Horse Of The Year with Havre de Grace, I’m amazed by her accomplishments. It doesn’t get any better than to watch her today, she was just gorgeous. I’m proud to watch her race; she gives me chills every time.”
Smith put Songbird in a stalking position early, sitting a length or so off Carina Mia — herself a Grade 1 winner — through a quarter-mile and then a half in 47.71 seconds. She drew even with that rival midway on the turn, took control leaving the quarter-pole, and cruised to an easy score. Running time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:44.02
“She was so happy, so calm and cool,” Smith said. “She drew away…she was having fun today, that was the old her and I was so glad to see that.”
Carina Mia held second, nearly seven lengths clear of Cathryn Sophia in third.
Songbird paid $2.60 as the 3-10 favorite and topped a modest $7.80 exacta.
Next stop for the sophomore: the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, where she’ll likely square off against Beholder and Stellar Wind.
“You come to a point in the road where you have to meet the big ones, and there’s a couple of big ones out there at Santa Anita, Beholder and Stellar Wind, those horses can really run,” said trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. “Our horse can really run, so we’d like to try those, and I think that’s good competition – if we all get there to the race at Santa Anita, so you have to get there first. We’ll be looking forward to it if we can get there, and I think that we will.”