Fox Hill Farms, Inc’s undefeated Songbird has mastered every challenge to date, even while looking the “Graveyard of Champions” square in the eyes. Saratoga has gotten the better of some of the greatest horses in history, including Man O’ War, Secretariat and American Pharoah, but not the 2015 juvenile champion filly, who passed her latest test in the Coaching Club of America Oaks July 24 with flying colors in her first start at the historic upstate New York track.
Songbird, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, the same sire as the great Rachel Alexandra, hit the track running and has never looked back. She won her debut last July at Del Mar by 6 ½ lengths and then easily won three straight Grade 1 races, including the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies en route to her Eclipse Award. She kicked off 2016 with three more wins and easily would have been the heavy favorite for the Kentucky Oaks, but was sidelined with a fever and missed the race. When she returned to training, she picked up right where she left off, proving to be the best of her generation on both coasts.
Since her debut, Songbird has been partnered with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who knows a thing or two about riding champion females. Smith was the regular rider of Ajina, Azeri, Royal Delta, and most famously, Zenyatta, the winner of 19 straight races before suffering her lone career loss in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“She was already in my top five and she just climbed up about two more notches,” said Smith following the win in the Coaching Club. “She’s very young yet she has a lot left to do. She’s so special, but I don't want to stop and think about it because it scares me. I don't want to let up. I want to keep my nose to the grindstone. We’ve got a job to do.”