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Undefeated Songbird cruises to win at Santa Anita

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Songbird won the $200,000 Summertime Oaks for 3-year-old fillies by 6 1/2 lengths Saturday at Santa Anita to improve to 8-0.

Ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, Songbird ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.63 and paid $2.10, $2.10 and $2.10 in the Grade 2 race. Wagering on the filly generated a minus show pool of $201,400, with a staggering $1,017,594 out of a total show pool of $1,081,223 was bet on her to finish no worse than third.

Songbird has won her eight career starts by a combined 42 1/2 lengths under Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who turned 70 on Saturday.

Bellamentary returned $2.40 and $2.10 as the 7-1 second choice, while Kay Kay was another nose back in third and paid $3.40 to show.

That’s a Lady was fourth and Sutton’s Smile last. Not Now Carolyn and Coppa were scratched.

Songbird had been idle since winning the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks on April 9.

“I was very happy the way she looked going down the backside,” Hollendorfer said. “She was very comfortable, with her ears up, looking for something. The opportunity presented itself to be just a little off the pace and now we’ve shown everyone we can do that.”

Songbird cruised to the lead leaving the three-furlong pole.

“She stayed in the spot that she wanted to be, cruising alongside of her and it’s just amazing, her cruising speed,” Smith said. “She started lengthening her stride on the backside and I knew we were comfortable. I knew she was going to fire. I just tried to stay out of her way. She has wings on her hooves. It scares me to think of how good she is.”

Smith said last year’s champion 2-year-old filly has “been ready” to take on male competition. However, Hollendorfer said he thinks Songbird will stay in the female ranks for now.

The victory, worth $120,000, increased Songbird’s career earnings to $2,102,000.

In the $75,000 Rainbow Stakes, Mr. Roary led all the way to win by a nose, ending an eight-race skid while winning for the first time in his career under Edwin Maldonado.

The 3-year-old gelding ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:47.48 and paid $78, $29.20 and $14.

Ralis returned $8.60 and $6, while Liam the Charmer was another half-length back in third and paid $3.60 to show.

Lady Eli ends skid with win in Grade 1 Gamely at Santa Anita

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Lady Eli won the $300,000 Gamely Stakes for fillies and mares by a half-length at Santa Anita, ending a two-race skid as the heavy 3-5 favorite.

Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Lady Eli ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:45.29 on Saturday.

Goodyearforroses was second, followed by Avenge, Mokat and Pretty Girl.

Lady Eli paid $3.20, $2.20 and $2.10. All but $18,388 of the total show pool of $315,505 was wagered on her in the Grade 1 race.

The 5-year-old dark brown mare has eight wins in 11 career starts and has never finished worse than second for New York-based trainer Chad Brown, who won the Preakness with Cloud Computing last weekend.

Lady Eli was coming off two close losses: by a nose in the Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland in April and by a head in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf last November.

Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming to skip Belmont Stakes

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NEW YORK — Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming will skip the Belmont Stakes next month after finishing eighth in the Preakness.

Trainer Todd Pletcher says the 3-year-old colt will be pointed toward either the $600,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 29 or the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on July 30, according to the Daily Racing Form.

Trainer Chad Brown says he will wait until after the Memorial Day weekend to announce where Preakness winner Cloud Computing will run next. However, it appears unlikely he will run in the Belmont.

The Belmont field is limited to 16 starters. Besides Classic Empire, who came in second at the Preakness Stakes, other horses expected to run are Conquest Mo Money, Japan-based Epicharis, Gormley, Irap, J Boys Echo, Lookin At Lee, Meantime, Multiple, Patch, Senior Investment, Tapwrit, True Timber and Twisted Tom. Other possibilities are Irish War Cry and Hollywood Handsome.