USA: Sensational Songbird soars away at Parx

Report: USA, Saturday

Parx Racing (Philadelphia): Cotillion Stakes (Grade 1) 1m1/2f, dirt, 3yo fillies

THE amazing Songbird (Jerry Hollendorfer/Mike Smith) took her unbeaten sequence to 11 with yet another resounding victory as she overwhelmed a field of top-class rivals in the Cotillion, coasting home by nearly six lengths in a totally dominant performance.

On paper, the $1 million event looked set to provide the sternest test of Songbird’s flawless career to date. On the racetrack, it was to prove anything but a stern test as the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro scored in imperious fashion, tracking front-runner Carina Mia before easily taking command at the head of the stretch.

“A picture of perfection,” suggested the racecaller as the 3-10 favourite sauntered clear, and it was hard to argue as she won going away from front-runner Carina Mia. Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia, kept off the pace at her home venue, was a poor third nearly seven lengths behind the second.

Songbird – who is named after a Fleetwood Mac song, specifically the Eva Cassidy version – stopped the clock at 1m44.02s. This brilliant daughter of Medaglia d’Oro has now won her 11 starts – seven at Grade 1 level – by a cumulative 60½ lengths.

“She just continues to amaze me,” said Rick Porter of owners Fox Hill Farms. “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.”

Speaking to the Blood-Horse, Porter confirmed that Songbird’s next target is the Breeders’ Cup Distaff; she will also stay in training at four. “We got a big one coming now,” he said. “I think Jerry and I agree the Distaff is the race to run her in. There’s some big cheese in that race.”

Hollendorfer agreed. “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,” he said.

“Those horses can really run. 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.”

Also on Saturday

Parx Racing: Pennsylvania Derby (Grade 2) 1m1f, dirt, 3yo

The 11-1 shot Connect (Chad Brown/Javier Castellano) upstaged a field full of better-known rivals to claim this $1.25m contest, beating Gun Runner in game fashion by a half-length after the runner-up drifted out in a final-furlong battle.

The son of Curlin, found to have a lung issue after being slammed behind wildly impressive winner Arrogate in the Travers Stakes on his previous outing, rallied on the inner to put himself in the picture for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Four lengths back in third was longshot Wild About Deb but Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, sent off 13-10 favourite, faded to finish sixth, one place in front of his Preakness Stakes conqueror Exaggerator, whose attempts to close on the far turn never got close to the front rank.

Winning for the fourth time in six career starts, Connect recorded a time of 1m50.20s for the 1m1f trip in a race that has a habit of producing a top-class winner. The most recent three victors before this year were subsequent three-year-old champion Will Take Charge, Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Bayern and Frosted, now a leading contender for this year’s Breeders’ Cup.


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