• Texas Chrome (2-1) bravely squeezed through on the rail for an Oklahoma Derby win.Posted 1 day ago
  • Unbridled Mo (4-1) rides the rail to victory in the Remington Park Oaks.Posted 1 day ago
  • Accelerate (1-1) rallies to win the Los Alamitos Derby (G2).Posted 2 days ago
  • Connect (10-1) upsets the Pennsylvania Derby.Posted 2 days ago
  • Songbird (1-5) gets win number 11 in the Cotillion (G1) at Parx Racing.Posted 2 days ago
  • Noholdingback Bear (3-1) wins the Gallant Bob (G3) at Parx Racing.Posted 3 days ago
  • 2015 Turf Champion Big Blue Kitten has been retired from racing, via the Chad Brown barn.Posted 6 days ago
  • No catching Sarah Sis (10-1) in the Presque Isle Downs Masters.Posted 7 days ago
  • Victory to Victory  7-1) pulls clear in the Grade 1 Natalma Stakes.Posted 9 days ago
  • Good Samaritan (3-1) rolls to a Breeders' Cup birth with a Summer Stakes win.Posted 9 days ago

HRN Original Blog:
Toasting with Andrew Champagne


Older Comments...

First, congratulations to Songbird and her team. What a race, Where I saw it I actually did not know the results, but was very pleased when I learned just how well she did. Incredible. Second, regarding the Distaff - they have so far confirmed, but they have not seen the performance by Beholder and Stellar Wind in the Zenyatta. I know I am eating crow because I said I thought they would skip the Distaff. I still see that as an option. We shall see. Third, I think people who are Songbird fans ought to not hope that a stakes record is set in the race, because if it is it is unlikely it will be set by Songbird. The record is held by Inside Information who set it at 1:46.15. To give you an idea of how fast that is, Beholder's fastest mark at the distance is 1:47.77 which she set in the 2013 Breeders Cup Distaff at Santa Anita when she was 3 years old. Songbird's fastest time at this distance is 1:49.56. She would have to run almost 3.5 seconds faster than her fastest time. To match Beholder's mark she would almost have to run 2 seconds faster. Do I think Songbird can do this? No. I do not think at this point in her development, that Songbird can run a 1:46.15 in a 9 furlong race. Next year, possibly. But this year it would be unlikely. Do I think she can win? Of course. This is horse racing and she is very, very talented. But it will not be easy. Zenyatta has the record on Pro Ride for the Distaff at Santa Anita of 1:46.85 - the only other horses to crack the 1:47 time barrier in the race. This is for those who think Zenyatta could not run fast. Stellar Wind's fastest time at the distance is over 1:49 so perhaps she is in the wheelhouse for Songbird at this distance, but remember at Del Mar she ran a 1:41.54 in the Clement Hirsch which is over a second faster than Songbird's best at this distance. And remember that Cavorting ran a 1:40.14 in the Ogden Phipps, though that is a 1 turn race at Belmont. She also ran the 1:48.61 in the Personal Ensign at Saratoga which is almost a second faster than Songbird's Coaching Club win. I only right this, as usual, so that people will temper their expectations and keep them realistic. If Songbird's connections go forward and enter her in the race they are to be given credit because as I noted, she has nothing to run for other than history. :-)
  • Show All 4 Comments
  • Ruffianlover · I don't think you're eating crow when the connections openly admitted they would skip distaff to avoid beholder. I agree that they probably committed based on the high they were feeling after the cotillion win and that feeling of invincibility- but if beholder and stellar wind run a blistering time next weekend they may have second thoughts. Songbird has a lot more to lose in the distaff than to gain- she would really only be running for history and for bragging rights as she already has the eclipse locked up- even if off the tracks wins the Beldame songbird will still win. · 1 day ago
  • Jerzmade · Pebbles well said... Yes songbird is a freak but let's not jump her ahead of zenyatta or Rachel yet. And plz let's not even compare her to Ruffian yet either, that horse was just in a different world. Songbird must race against the boys first or even lets see her go against beholder then we'll go from there. But I do love songbird she amazes me every race with the ease she wins, honestly I don't think I've seen the whip be used once on her yet I could be wrong tho · 9 minutes ago
Entered Friday 9/30 at Santa Anita Race 7
People get in way too deep on these discussions it cracks me up. We all love horse racing we all root for different horses it's all good. I happen to love song bird and maybe we are putting a little bit too much on her right now. She does have a long way to go yet. You have your own opinion I have mine
FYI to Mark Kennedy--Your comment on Curlin yesterday went to an "alternate" page, not to this one, the original. I was thrilled when I saw the news myself on Sunday A.M.; Connect really gave his dad a boost! Don't know what's going on with this site, but today I found the same problem with Songbird's page. I've written to ZATT/ HRN twice within 24 hrs. Hope this comment posts correctly....
Songbird will turn out to be even better than Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra. I think Songbird is the best filly America has EVER seen!!!!! :-)
  • Pitbull · I think she will be just that.She is so fun to watch with her effortless wins. She is just simply amazing:-) · 1 day ago
  • Pebbles via Disqus · You must not have seen too many filly's. Right now her 3 year old campaign pales in comparison to Rachel Alexandra's. Her only chance to make her presence felt is to At this point, she could not hold a candle to Ruffian speed wise. Rufian you may recall either broke or set a stakes/track record in every start she made as a 2 and 3 year old filly save her last. Songbird has yet too carry weight against other distaff horses. That will tell what a competitor she is. Zenyatta carried 129 pounds twice. I know of no horse male or female that carried that much weight in North American racing. And these are recent horses, look back at Busher, Gallorette, Azeri, Regret, Twilight Tear, etc. Songbird has a chance to be one of the best ever. There is no doubt about that. But let's keep the plaudits reasonable. She has yet to step up in class and win. Let us see her accomplish that first. · 1 hour ago
You will see something very special next weekend at Santa Anita Park and it will not be in the Awesome Again. She is going to reclaim her throne which in my opinion she never lost. The NTRA poll got it right. She never left it. But Stellar Wind did. :-) Beholder Logs Final Work For Zenyatta http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/215261/beholder-logs-final-work-for-zenyatta
  • myles burke via Disqus · Pebbles you sure do love Beholder...just looking at her numbers...interestingly enough she hasn't left the state of California in more than 2 years....141 flat...you dreaming...that would be her best by more than a second....can I have what you have been smoking??? lol....and only left the state twice in her career....but I do love your enthusiasm... · 1 hour ago
They should put her in the Breeder's cup ladies classic instead of the distaff. Just my opinion.
Back on the work tab today. 48 1/5 with a "breezing" designation, not usually given in Cali. I've been very pleased with his works post Travers. That 4f drill last week was a thing of beauty
Ugh, saying this horse is inconsistent would be putting it mildly. 14 starts - 6 wins - 3 places - 1 show - 4 off the board. Seriously, he was 11th in the Travers? Wasn't it a 13 horse field? The Belmont, 11th in an 11 horse field, in other words, dead last. I don't know. The only time he won consecutively, was as a 2 year old after breaking maiden and then won the G2 Saratoga Special. Since he won the Haskell, he'll be in the Classic, but it's obvious that he'll be seriously outclassed. California Chrome will probably be the winner, but Arrogate may or may not have some surprises in store, but we'll have to wait and see. But now, once again, who the top three year old colt is this year is up in the air. Mohaymen hasn't won since the Florida Derby, I don't think. Nyquist's last two races, Preakness and Haskell, were pretty poor performances. Exaggerator, he's too inconsistant and those two 11th places are not attractive. Arrogate set a new Travers track record, but he's only won a single stakes race, that doesn't say much. I don't know who the best three year old colt is. The fillies this year have been amazing. Songbird naturally, but Carina Mia is no slouch, and neither is Cathryn Sophia. With champion older horse, no contest, it's California Chrome. For champion older mare, I would have said Beholder without a second thought, but after her two straight losses, to Stellar Wind in the Clement L Hirsch, and to California Chrome in the Pacific Classic, so, I can't say for certain if she's still champion older mare. Most likely she is, but her past two races make me wonder. So, it's Exaggerator, Nyquist, and Gun Runner in the Pennsylvania Derby? Oh boy. I'm not sure how Nyquist will do. I hope nothing bad happens.
  • Show All 3 Comments
  • KatieK101 · I wish Arrogate was running tomorrow - he needs another stakes race before the Classic, IMO. But in terms of the best three year old colt, I'd say that title still belongs to Nyquist. People seem to be brushing him aside because he hasn't won his past two starts, but until the Preakness he was undefeated, and he won the Kentucky Derby. Two "poor" performances doesn't suddenly make all that disappear. · 3 days ago
  • Pebbles via Disqus · Close. 16 starts, 14 times on the board. "The board" is the tote board and it includes 4th place. He was 4th in the BC Juvenile despite a miserable trip. How can you call a horse that finishes off the board in 3 out of 14 starts? How would you define a consistent horse? Mohaymen has not won since the Fountain of Youth Stakes. You give Beholder no credit for stepping up in class against males and finishing a decent 2nd ahead of Dortmund, Hard Aces, and Hoppertunity? I count her performance as a G1 performance against fillies and mares. I do not penalize horses who step up in class for running a good race, but losing. Right now Beholder is ahead of Stellar Wind in my book. · 3 hours ago
Maybe Songbird should have run in the Pa. Derby ...
Kentucky Derby Field - Where Are They Now? Arrogate has become the buzz horse in the division with his record setting performance in the Travers. He has one start left this year and should he win the Classic over California Chrome would that be enough for him to win the Eclipse? In comparison to Tiznow, he does not have a long enough resume. History seems to point to the notion that this year’s Three-year-old Male Champion is likely to come from a horse that has competed in the Derby.
OK - so we probably have 5 in the race then...well that is better than 2.
He's looking better than ever, with horses who were 15+ lengths behind him finishing 1-2 at Parx
  • Ruffianlover · It does flatter him but do you give a horse an eclipse Award based on one race? That's absurd · 2 days ago
  • Pebbles via Disqus · BTN...slipping again...Arrogate bested Connect by 13.5 lengths, and Gun Runner by another 1/2 length. :-) · 2 hours ago
Kentucky Derby 2016 - Where Are They Now? "At this point, it is a distinct possibility that Nyquist will join Orb, Super Saver, Mine That Bird, Barbaro, and Monarchos as a Kentucky Derby winner since the year 2000 that never won another race. Nyquist appears to be on his way to stud duty at the end of the year. As a historic note, none of the aforementioned horses ended up receiving the Eclipse Award as top Three-year-old Male."
I think the JCGC will be more exciting than the AA
Rest this horse and bring him back for a 2017 campaign.
  • Pebbles via Disqus · Winstar may want to get him to the breeding shed sooner. · 3 hours ago
Now is not the time to forfeit and dishonor the horse's chances as long is he healthy and injury free. If he is mathematically alive for 3 year old colt, and Breeders Cup Day is what carries the major determination, then he needs to follow through with that. I don't necessarily think he is the best horse or even in the top 5, but I'm not sure I would be either on an over raced schedule - 15 races in a year and 3 months is nearly one race per month and very unchararistic of what is recommended for major horses running major races nowadays. The Desormoux brothers have exercised very poor judgment in not sitting him out of some races, and it's amazing how none of us have put that together until after this last race. They can undo some of that problem by the fact that they have 6 and not 4 weeks. Rest him the max amount of time and train him the minimum. He's already gained about all the fitness he can gain for the year. And who knows? He may just hit Santa Anita on a rainy day; although if he faces CalChrome, that will probably be when the wet surface magic runs out. I would only enter him into the dirt mile if a majority of the other colts who are in contention enter, and even then, you are giving Arrogate a wide open shot at convincing voters of being the three year old colt instead of contesting him.
  • Pebbles via Disqus · I really do not know about this. Why not point him to the Hollywood Derby and allow him to regroup and try something new. If he were to win it, ala California Chrome that would be 4 G1 races he won this year and likely make him a shoe in for the award unless Nyquist or Arrogate win something big. He did have 2 months off between the Belmont Stakes and the Haskell. · 3 hours ago
A good list when compared to some past fields of Awesome Again. Dortmund and Win The Space are good enough horses and Hard Aces is not below the G2 status, but this will be a display of pure dominion. Win The Space picks off of the hot pace and finishes 11 back in 2nd.
How A Modest Race Became One Of America's Marquee Events https://www.thoroughbredracing.com/articles/how-modest-race-sneered-racetrack-became-one-americas-marquee-events/
Baffert will enter both Dortmund and Hoppertunity in the Awesome Again tomorrow, but it is not definite that both will actually start. (Per DRF Privman)

Meet Andrew Champagne


A native of upstate New York and a graduate of Ithaca College, Andrew Champagne fell in love with horse racing at a very early age on summer trips to Saratoga. His turf writing credits include time spent as a sportswriter, weekly columnist, and handicapper at The Saratogian, a summer working for The Saratoga Special, and "field research" at OTB facilities in Saratoga Springs and his hometown of Kingston. He also spent two years in the athletic communications office at Siena College, and interned with NBC Olympics at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Andrew moved to Pasadena, Calif., in October of 2013, and now serves as an Associate Producer in HRTV's Digital Media department and Horse Racing Nation's Southern California writer. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewChampagne, and email him at andrewdchampagne@gmail.com.

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