Fox Hill Farms' Songbird remained unbeaten in three romping starts with a wire-to-wire score in Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 Chandelier Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
The talented Jerry Hollendorfer trainee was stretching out to two turns for the first time after breaking her maiden July 26 by 6 1/2 lengths, then taking the G1 Del Mar Debutante by 5 1/4 Sept. 5. With her Chandelier victory, Songbird also grabbed a berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies through the “Win and You're In” series.
“It was very exciting. It was just what we wanted,” said Dan Ward, assistant to Hollendorfer. “She showed she can go two turns and now we've got five weeks (until the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Oct. 30).”
Songbird, off at odds of 1-5, set out for the early lead and laid out opening fractions of :23.14, :46.85 and 1:11.09, opening up daylight on her competition as they approached the far turn. Under mild urging from Mike Smith, Songbird repelled a challenge from Land Over Sea to her outside and sailed across the wire for another clear victory.
“It lived up to the expectations,” said Smith. “She opens that stride up and she has such a high cruising speed.
“She acted up a little bit at the break. I think breaking in front of the crowd the first time made her a little nervous. I was lucky to get away as well as I did but she's so big and strong that when those horses came together on her it just made her go forward.”
Final time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:43.79. Land Over Sea stuck around for second, and Right There finished third.
Songbird, a daughter of Medaglia d'Oro out of the West Acre mare Ivanavinalot, was bred in Kentucky by John Antonelli. Consigned to the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale in 2014 by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, she sold for $400,000 to Fox Hill.
“Not only does she have the ability but she has the mind to go with it,” Smith said. “There are so many horses with that kind of ability but a lot can get to them. She's so intelligent, she's so smart and listens to everything I tell her. I got her to fall asleep there on the lead but she fell asleep too much! I had to wake her up a little bit at the eighth pole but after that she jumped back into the bridle and it was over.”
According to trainer Doug O'Neill, Chandelier runner-up Land Over Sea is also likely headed to Keeneland for her next start.
“We'll huddle up with Team Reddam, but I would think the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Filly would be the next up,” O'Neill said.
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