Seven fillies entered Saturday’s $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G1), but there’s really only one name fans need to know – Songbird.
The unbeaten champion continues marching onward to the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs in the 1 1/16-mile contest, and there really doesn’t appear anyone capable of keeping up with her on Saturday.
The Santa Anita Oaks win would catapult Songbird back to number 1 on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard, as it will award 100-40-20-10 points to the respective top four as part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races.
Songbird currently sits in second on the leaderboard with 90 points, compiled for taking the Chandelier (G1), Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), Las Virgenes (G2) and Santa Ysabel (G3) in the easiest of fashion. The Jerry Hollendorfer pupil has been working bullets in preparation for this final major prep to the Kentucky Oaks and should cruise home under regular rider Mike Smith.
An interesting prospect in the Santa Anita Oaks to take second is Bellamentary, who will be making her stakes bow for trainer Philip d’Amato. The chestnut daughter of Bellamy Road ran second while going 5 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar to open her career but has since captured her maiden and an allowance/optional claimer at Santa Anita by a combined 6 3/4 lengths under Rafael Bejarano, who returns to the irons in this spot. Bellamentary could take a big step forward here in her stakes bow.
Forever Darling captured the Santa Ynez (G2) to open her three-year-old campaign, but her worse efforts to date both came when attempting to stretch out to 1 1/16 miles. The Richard Baltas trainee may be better suited for sprints. Martin Pedroza has the call.
Mokat and Jade Princess both faced Songbird in the Santa Ysabel last out, finishing third and fourth, respectively. Mokat boasts just one win to date, with that coming on the turf at Del Mar last October. Jade Princess also ran fifth to Songbird in the Las Virgenes one race after taking an allowance/optional claimer to kick off her 2016 season. Flavien Prat will be aboard Mokat while Victor Espinoza takes the reins on Jade Princess, but neither looks capable of an upset.
She’s a Warrior has also come up against Songbird, running third in the Las Virgenes, and is still maiden with a 5-0-3-2 mark thus far. Gary Stevens has piloting duties for the first time on the Peter Eurton trainee.
Kay Kay ran second to Bellamentary last out and, like that filly, will be taking on Songbird for the first time here. The chestnut miss has picked a tough spot to make her stakes bow under Alonso Quinonez.