In a race her connections believe sets up perfectly for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Songbird was once again simply untouchable.
Fox Hill Farms’ champion toyed with fellow Grade 1 winners Carina Mia and Cathryn Sophia on Saturday at Parx Racing in the $1 million Cotillion Stakes, extending her unbeaten streak to 11 with a 5 3/4-length victory under a hand ride from Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.
“She just continues to amaze me,” owner Rick Porter said. “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 Songbird’s 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. It’s just so much fun to watch her run.”
Speedy Acorn Stakes winner Carina Mia took advantage of her inside post and made the lead going into the first turn to set the pace early in the 1 1/16-mile race, but 3-10 favorite Songbird was never far behind and easily ranged up from second to take command off the final turn. Longines Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia gave chase from fourth but could not make up ground.
Final time on a fast track was 1:44.02 as Songbird collected her seventh Grade 1 win for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
“When I talked with Mike about the race, we just wanted to jump [out of the starting gate] and see where we were,” Hollendorfer said. “I didn’t know what [Cathryn Sophia] was going to do. I thought she was capable of showing some speed. Songbird laid off the pace a little and ran at the when Mike asked her to. I’m very grateful for her, and very pleased with the way that she did that today. I thought she was going great down the backside.”
Songbird returned $2.60, $2.10, and $2.10 while Carina Mia brought $3.60 and $2.10 at odds of 6.90-1. Cathryn Sophia paid $2.10 as the 2.60-1 second choice, and was followed home by Land Over Sea, Disco Rose, and Queena Esther.
With the win, Songbird boosted her career earnings to $3,372,000. A run in the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Distaff could see her face multiple champions as she takes on older horses for the first time.
“We’ve got a big one coming now. I thought this race fit in with the Breeders’ Cup, the timing is perfect,” Porter said. “I think Jerry and I agree the Distaff is the race to run her in. There’s some big cheese in that race, but that’s the fun of it — hook the big ones and hopefully beat ’em. All along we’ve thought about sticking with the girls. The time will come next year when we talk about [facing males]. I hope that she stays healthy, and it looks like she can beat Grade 1 boys; I think I can talk [Jerry] into taking a shot.”