09/24/2016 7:20PM

Songbird runs away with Cotillion triumph

Barbara D. Livingston
Songbird's victory in the Cotillion on Saturday was her 11th in as many starts.

BENSALEM, Pa. - You couldn’t wipe the smile off jockey Mike Smith’s face.  It wasn’t just that Songbird won Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion at Parx Racing, it was how she did it.

Songbird was nice and relaxed sitting off of Carina Mia for six furlongs before going after that Grade 1 winner at the five-sixteenths pole and disposing of that rival by the three-sixteenths pole en route to a 5 3/4-length victory.

Carina Mia finished 6 3/4 lengths ahead of Cathryn Sophia. Land Over Sea, Disco Rose, and Queena Esther completed the order of finish.

“Man, that was good,” Smith said. “She was so happy, so cool, calm. She drew away, but she was having fun today. That’s the old her, I was really glad to see that.”

The victory was the 11th in as many starts for Songbird, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm and trained by the Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer. Her combined margin of victory is 60 1/2 lengths.

Songbird, last year’s 2-year-old filly champion, has now won seven Grade 1 races, four this year including the Santa Anita Oaks, Coaching Club American Oaks, and Alabama.

Smith indicated this might have been her best performance yet.

“She seemed to have blossomed, I don’t know if that’s possible; it feels kind of strange saying that as good as she’s been,” said Smith, who has been aboard for all 11 wins. “Look at her color, she was playing in the post parade. I couldn’t believe it. I think she likes the cooler weather a little bit.”

Smith was as interested as everybody else how the race would play out. In the Coaching Club American Oaks, Songbird was the target and it was Carina Mia who went after her at the quarter pole, only to be repelled.

On Saturday, breaking from the rail, Carina Mia went to the lead under Julien Leparoux, set fractions of 23.81 seconds for the quarter, 47.71 for the half-mile, and 1:12.04.

“I was wondering, didn’t quite know,” said Smith, when asked how he thought the race would unfold. “I was going to stay out to see if they wanted to go ahead instead of pressing me on the outside this time, as opposed to the Coaching Club. I did what I did and it worked again. When you ride a filly like this just about anything works, really.”

Leparoux said he rode Carina Mia “the way she wanted to be ridden today. … We had the inside post, she broke good, this time Mike kind of looked at us. We didn’t go crazy, crazy; she fought back, she just got beat today by a champion.”

Songbird covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.02 and returned $2.60 as the 1-5 favorite.

“Here once again Songbird laid off the pace a little and ran at them when Mike asked her to,” Hollendorfer said. “Very grateful for her and I’m very pleased the way she did that today.”

The victory was sweet for Porter, who was hospitalized last month and forced to miss the Alabama. He attended the Cotillion.

“With this filly it’s special anywhere,” he said. “She’s just incredible. The performances she puts in time and time again; the way she gets out of that gate and Mike lets her do what she wants to do. It’s just so much fun to watch her run.”

It wasn’t fun for John Servis, the trainer of Cathryn Sophia, who, along with locally based owner Chuck Zacney, had targeted the Cotillion since the beginning of the year. Cathryn Sophia, sitting third behind Songbird and Carina Mia approaching the quarter pole, came up empty in the stretch under Javier Castellano.

“I’m very surprised, I thought maybe she was a little flat, because I thought she’d be a little closer to the pace,” Servis said. “[Castellano] said ‘no, she was comfortable as can be and I was just sitting.’ He said at the three-eighths pole ‘I thought I was a winner.’ She just didn’t go on.”

Songbird will return to Southern California on Wednesday and point to the $2 million Distaff at Santa Anita on Nov. 4, when she could face champions Beholder and Stellar Wind.

“Jerry and I agree the Distaff is the race to run her in,” Porter said. “I know we’re hooking some big cheese in that race. That’s the fun of it, hook the big ones and hope to beat them.”

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Jack Armstead More than 1 year ago

I wouldn't be so sure to make Beholder and Stellar Wind the "favorites" for the BC Distaff. I don't think we've seen the bottom of Songbird from the looks of how she dispatches these other 3 year old Filly's across the country.

I believe that when the "competition" increases... we'll get to see a real event. I would have to use all three I were playing multi-race wagers, or; skip that Pick 4 and pound a $10 Tri Box and hope to get the "best price" horse winning.  If you can get $28.00 back for $6 dollars, that not too bad. The point is... I don't see much invading from the East to take anything but 4th place money.

Remember, Beholder raced against Chrome and didn't embarrass herself... she's still the Queen and the Class.  Chrome was just too much for her that day.

TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
Songbird wins so effortlessly she is like poetry in motion! expect nothing short of greatness from this horse.
alex More than 1 year ago
ProXstream I apologize for the mean comment I said about you but I remember a comment you wrote a few months back before Songbird began her east coast "tour de force" quote" I'll say it again Songbird will be in a lot of trouble  facing the top top east coast fillies " sound familiar? And I agree Beholder does hold a ever so slight advantage over Songbird  let's wait till Beholder has her final BC prep next weekend before we decide who will beat who. ....
ProXstream Gaming More than 1 year ago
Hey Alex....why the hatred in the personal message ?  I love Songbird.  Just think Beholder will beat her.  
alex More than 1 year ago
Hard to separate Songbird and Beholder right now
alex More than 1 year ago
I remember a few years ago when Beholder was.a 3 yr.old filliy she came to the B.C. distaff and whipped the likes of  defending champion Royal Delta (6-5) favorite and a slew of older mares . Bottom line respect her brilliance. ....
RacetrackFan More than 1 year ago
Please bet Beholder! I really need odds on Songbird! 
ProXstream Gaming More than 1 year ago
Please don't take this the wrong way.....she's a magnificent 3 year old filly. Love her ! But she beat absolutely nobody out west, and the fillies out east don't seem to want much more than a mile. Beholder is a whole new ballgame ( and perhaps even Stellar Wind for that matter ). 
ProXstream Gaming More than 1 year ago
Beholder will beat her, and everyone else, in the Distaff. 
alex More than 1 year ago
Shut up hater! Your just a troll
Gary Peacock More than 1 year ago
If this magnificent, undefeated 3 year old filly was ever bred to 2015 triple crown winner American Pharaoh, a brand new breed of of animal might be the result.
Thomas Georgetown More than 1 year ago
Maybe but great horses don't always pass on their greatness.