Songbird strong in first work for Alabama

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Songbird returned to the work tab Thursday at Saratoga and gave every indication that she is moving forward for the Grade 1 Alabama with a solid five-furlong workout in 1:00.65 over the main track.

Working about 10 minutes after the track opened at 5:30 a.m., Songbird pranced her way to the paddock for a quick visit, then backed up to the eighth pole under exercise rider Edgar Rodriguez. She jogged alongside a stable pony through the stretch before galloping around the clubhouse turn.

Songbird got into stride turning down the backside and then broke off at the five-furlong pole and went off an easy first eighth in 13.57 seconds. She picked up the pace and went three furlongs in 36.75 seconds and then got her last quarter in 23.90, according to Daily Racing Form clocker Mike Welsch. Rodriguez hardly asked Songbird for anything down the stretch.

Songbird galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.79, seven furlongs in 1:26.85, and a mile in 1:40.93.

It was Songbird’s first work since her dominating victory in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks on July 24.

“This was a really nice and smooth work,” trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said. “I’m very pleased.”

Asked to compare this work to the ones she’s had in California, Hollendorfer said: “She always looks the same. She looks like she’s not working that fast, but when you have the clock on her, she’s coming along pretty good. She picked it up on her own. Edgar didn’t ask her to do anything.”

Hollendorfer had planned to work Songbird on Wednesday but decided to push the workout back a day to let the track dry out a little more. The track was wet Monday through early Wednesday from rain Sunday and Monday.

“I’m really happy that I waited until today,” Hollendorfer said. “I thought it was a much better racetrack. You know the track’s still a little bit deep because she got a little bit of a blow out of it.”

Hollendorfer said Songbird would work again next Wednesday or Thursday.

Tom Franklin is a senior contributor at US Racing.
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