One of the many highlights of this weekend will be Songbird running in the Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga. The undefeated, three-year old champion will go for her ninth victory against a tiny field of just five total horses. It should be business as usual for one of the most untouchable horses in the 2016 campaign but there is at least one, legitimate threat.
Songbird has been training at Santa Anita for the past few months since dominating the Summertime Oaks in her return from a low grade fever that took her out of the Triple Tiara Races. In her absence, the spotlight was seized by three other winners. Cathryn Sophia seized the Kentucky Oaks, while Go Maggie Go upset the field at the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. Carina Mia won the Acorn hosted by Belmont Park, and she will also feature in the Coaching Club American Oaks in a bid to hand Songbird her first loss.
That’s an uphill climb as there is in the sport, but Carina Mia seems up to task. Her connections have long intended to point her towards the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, a race also targeted by those in charge of Songbird. So the Coaching Club American Oaks is a good a time as any to see whether or not its worth gunning for that particular race, or pivoting in another direction.
Weep No More is always a worthy choice in the books despite her up-and-down career. The speedster is clearly capable of immense pace after catching both Rachel’s Valentina, Cathryn Sophia and Carina Mia at the Ashland in what can only be described as a massive upset. She has since only run the Kentucky Oaks, where she fell to a disappointing 7th.
More d’Amour is also a member of the Coaching Club American Oaks field after a 4th place run at the Mother Goose. Flora Dora rounds out the field after finishing 7th at the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and 2nd at a Belmont allowance. She’s probably not worth consideration at the Coaching Club American Oaks in full honesty.
Though this is a five-horse race, it truly seems like Weep No More and Carina Mia are running for second place. While she was battling her fever, Songbird was likely more than happy to let other contenders shine in her place. Now that she’s back at center stage, however, the spotlight is hers.
The 2016 Coaching Club American Oaks runs this Sunday, July 24th out of Saratoga at 6:18pm EST. It is a 1 1/8th mile contest with a sizeable $500,000 purse on the line.