Songbird Rates Perfect ’10’ for Alabama Win
Songbird Rates Perfect ’10’ for Alabama Win: The search for superlatives to describe Songbird goes on after the undefeated champion stretched her winning streak to 10 with a dominant performance in Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama at Saratoga Race Course.
The 136th running of the summer’s signature event for 3-year-old fillies produced an early test for the popular favorite, as second choice Go Maggie Go threw down the gauntlet and sped to the lead with Luis Saez. Songbird broke alertly as well, and in a flash she was perched on the pacesetter’s outside flank with Hall of Famer Mike Smith.
The battle was joined and the pair opened daylight on their five pursuers, going head-and-head for the entire run down the backstretch and into the far turn. But just as a six-furlong split of 1:11.13 was posted, Go Maggie Go began to weaken and Songbird began moving away with every stride coming to the quarter-pole. From there it was just a matter of how far, and Songbird’s final margin over second finisher Going for Broke was seven lengths – the largest since Questing won by nine lengths in 2012.
After running the Alabama’s demanding 1 ¼ miles in 2:03 flat, Songbird’s combined margin of victory through 10 wins is 54 ¾ lengths.
“She is just amazing,” said Smith, who won his fifth Alabama and first since 2000 with Jostle, also for Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm. “We were running along a pretty good clip and I was kind of surprised that someone was going with her, which was fine. We can’t always get an easy lead and she was comfortable going along down the backside and well within herself. They can come at her early, come at her late, and so far, she has shown she can put them all away. I knew she was going to run well. Today was just more of an emotional day for the whole team, with Mr. Porter being ill and having to go to the hospital. I pray he got to watch this and lift his spirits.”
Songbird earned $360,000 for her sixth Grade 1 triumph, and the daughter of 2002 Travers winner Medaglia d’Oro has now amassed a total of $2,762,000.
She returned $2.40 for a $2 win bet to her many backers in the crowd of 40,329.
“I never like to say it’s easy, but she’s just got a lot of talent,” said Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who beat Fox Hill’s Havre de Grace by a head with Blind Luck in the 2010 Alabama. “She makes it look easy but it’s not easy. First time going a mile and a quarter and you always think you can do it, but you never know until you actually do it. It’s very gratifying to have a horse like this and see what she can do. I think Mr. Rick [Porter] is looking at the Cotillion…so we’ll look at that.”
Going for Broke, next-to-last to the stretch, rallied inside to overtake Family Tree for second by 1 ¾ lengths in her stakes debut for Chad Brown.
“I thought she ran terrific,” said Brown. “Irad [Ortiz, Jr.] gave her a patient ride. I knew she could get the distance. In the end, Songbird showed her class.”
The order of finish was completed by Weep No More, Flora Dora, Go Maggie Go and Dark Nile.
Source: Dave Litfin, NYRA
Alabama Stakes 2016 Replay: