03/05/2016 6:49PM

Songbird remains undefeated by taking Santa Ysabel

Benoit & Associates
Songbird is now 6 for 6 after easily winning the Santa Ysabel under jockey Mike Smith.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Six races into her career, Songbird continues to cruise into the winner’s circle.

The champion 2-year-old filly of 2015, Songbird ($2.10) remained unbeaten, and won the fifth stakes of her career, in Saturday’s $101,380 Santa Ysabel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita. She ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.02, winning by 3 3/4 lengths over 13-1 Land Over Sea.

The margin was deceptive. Jockey Mike Smith eased down on Songbird in the final furlong after holding a six-length advantage with a furlong to go. Smith admitted he spent much of the final furlong watching the race unfold on the massive infield television.

 “I was amazed at how easily she does things,” Smith said. “I was a bit starstruck when I looked at the big screen. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.”

The win solidified Songbird’s already lofty status as the leading 3-year-old filly in the nation. The combined margin of victory in Songbird’s six races is 32 1/4 lengths.

Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for owner Rick Porter, Songbird is firmly on course for a start in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 6. She is scheduled to have a prep race in the $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks on April 9.

Songbird won her 2016 debut in the Grade 2 Las Virgenes Stakes at a mile on Feb. 6 by 6 1/2 lengths. She led by 10 lengths in the stretch of that race after setting a half-mile fractions of 47.01 seconds. In Saturday’s Grade 3 Santa Ysabel, Songbird faced early pressure from Not Now Carolyn and Jade Princess, and set early fractions of 23.20 for the opening quarter-mile and 46.02 for a half-mile.

A faster pace was a benefit, Smith said.

“They made her work a little,” Smith said. “If they don’t give her a challenge, you don’t get anything out of it. The race was like two works.”

Songbird was comfortably in front in early stretch of the Santa Ysabel, the trailing field only sorting out the placings. Land Over Sea finished 3 1/2 lengths in front of Mokat, a 42-1 shot. Jade Princess finished fourth, followed by Pageant Material, Merirosvo, Code Warrior, My Dynamo, and Not Now Carolyn.

Land Over Sea has finished behind Songbird in all five of Songbird’s wins, which are the only stakes of Land Over Sea’s career. The span includes second-place finishes in the Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes and Grade 2 Las Virgenes Stakes. Land Over Sea races for Paul and Zillah Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill.

Mokat started in her second stakes in the Santa Ysabel, having finished second by a half-length in the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante Stakes at a mile on turf at Del Mar in November.

Songbird, by Medaglia d’Oro, has earned $1,742,000.

 “I think she’s happy and getting happier every time I get on her,” Smith said.

The win left Hollendorfer eager to see how Songbird will perform in stakes in April and May.

“She does what she does best and that’s run fast,” he said.