Her closest rival tried to make a race of it, but Songbird would not surrender.
The champion daughter of Medaglia d'Oro came and conquered July 15 at Delaware Park, where she claimed the $750,000 Delaware Handicap for Delaware native Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farms and Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
With regular rider Mike Smith aboard for the 1 1/4-mile event, 124-pound highweight Songbird broke alertly from the outside post 5 and easily led the field early through opening fractions of :24.26 and :48.36.
While Songbird held a 2 1/2-length advantage headed to the six-furlong point, Martini Glass began to cut into that lead from her tracking spot in second as three-quarters of a mile went in 1:12.63. Songbird had only a half-length advantage through a 1:37.50 mile, and Martini Glass ranged up on almost even terms with the 4-year-old star on the turn for home, but
Smith asked Songbird for more in the stretch, and for a moment the victory looked in jeopardy—but the brilliant bay worked to hold off her 21-1 rival, and won by a length.
"I feel great and we pulled it off," Smith said. "There is always a little pressure and if there is not, there is something wrong. I take this very seriously. These races are not easy. These are the kind of races you get beat in. If she did not run, there would have been a whole lot of doubt, but she responded."
"We were a little nervous at the eighth-pole, but we won and that is all that matters," Porter said.
The final time was 2:03.96. Songbird, the shortest-priced favorite in Delaware Handicap history at odds of 1-20, paid $2.10, $2.10, and $2.10. Martini Glass, the second choice, brought $2.60 and $2.40. Line of Best Fit was two lengths back in third ($3.00), and was followed home by Miss Mo Kelly and Weep No More. Hone In was scratched.
It was the ninth Grade 1 victory for Songbird, and her 13th overall. Her earnings now stand at $4,562,000. She was bred in Kentucky by John Antonelli out of the West Acre mare Ivanavinalot, and she was later purchased by Fox Hill for $400,000 as a yearling.
"We are happy that we won and we are happy we could win this race for Rick Porter," Hollendorfer said. "I'm not sure where she will go next. There are races all over the country for this filly. Saratoga is definitely a target. We will see how she comes out of this race. It is a tough race going a mile and quarter."