Songbird remained undefeated in winning the 2017 Delaware Handicap, but the victory wasn’t the sort that his connections are used to witnessing. Jockey Mike Smith had some questions to answer following the triumph which might seem weird, but it wasn’t the type of performance that Songbird has submitted over the course of his career. At the very least she remains undefeated.
“I had to get into her, but once I did, she let me know it was ok,” Smith said. “She definitely was getting a little tired, but she’s supposed to. She’s only run one time this year. She got it done. She’s classy. She held on good.”
The winning run in the 2017 Delaware Handicap was a strange sight as 8/1 third choice Martini Glass was closing the gap in the late stretches when Songbird is usually at her best. While Martini Glass would finish second, and Line of Best Fit claimed third, it was an unusually tough test for the reigning 3 Year Old Filly of the Year.
“I think the mile and a quarter might not be her best distance. She still runs well, though. No one’s beat her at it. But it was only her second race back, and she handled the first race pretty handy,” Smith continued. “And Delaware is a deep, deep track, and it was very, very humid today. I was more worried about getting beat in this race than in most of them.”
The conditions are probably the most likely excuse for Songbird allowing a horse that had no business competing with her doing just that. Owner Rick Porter was much more to-the-point in stating, “We were a little nervous at the eighth pole, but we won and that is all that matters.”
With the 2017 Delaware Handicap in the books, Songbird will likely look to polish off another warm-up race before heading in to the world championships. It does look like she needs a bit more run as the rust may have contributed more to her output than Smith or Porter would admit to.