07/27/2010 12:14PM

Softly Singing looking sharp


DEL MAR, Calif. – It was at Del Mar last summer where Softly Singing gave the first indications that she could be the best filly of her crop in the barn of trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. But an ill-timed injury, and the emergence of Blind Luck, has made Softly Singing all but forgotten. Not at the barn, though.

“She’s a nice filly,” Dan Ward, Hollendorfer’s top local assistant, said Tuesday morning at Del Mar. “She needed time off for a knee. Down here, she’s really perked up. Her last two works have been terrific.”

And those workouts should have Softly Singing, now age 3, primed for an excellent effort on Thursday at Del Mar in the day’s featured seventh race, a six-furlong sprint at the second-level allowance condition for older females. Softly Singing will be making the third start of her form cycle, and she is being reunited with jockey Joel Rosario, who rode her here last summer and has been aboard for her two most-recent drills.

Softly Singing crossed the wire second in her debut last summer at Del Mar. She then came back to beat maidens three weeks later, a victory that proved redundant when she was declared the winner of her debut after the disqualification, on a medication violation, of that race’s original winner.

In the meantime, Blind Luck had joined the barn. Both ran in the Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita’s Oak Tree meeting. Blind Luck won, and has gone on to a stellar career. Softly Singing was injured and did not race again until two months ago.

“She got time off, and we sent her out to a farm up north, so that’s why she came back and ran up north,” Ward said. Softly Singing won an allowance race at Golden Gate on May 29 before finishing third as the odds-on favorite in a money-allowance at Stockton last time out.

Hollendorfer also has entered Five Silver Stars, who has lost her last two starts after winning her first two.

Like Hollendorfer, Bob Baffert has a pair in the race, most notably Fund Raiser, who could go off the favorite following a pair of sharp, non-winning efforts at Hollywood Park. She was third in the DesertStormer on June 12, then was second in a money allowance to the accomplished Silver Swallow on July 5.

“She was on the lead last time, and she doesn’t like being on the lead,” Baffert said.

Baffert’s other filly, Via Veneto, was second in similar allowance spots in her last two starts.

Heartless Vixen was third, just behind Via Veneto, in an April 28 allowance at Hollywood Park in her last race.