Welcome to “The Weekend Accolades,” a weekly series in which we’ll look back on the previous week of racing and hand out a few informal awards to horses, trainers, jockeys, etc. that achieved notable feats in racing. Enjoy!
Debut Winner of the Week: Songbird
As mentioned in Diamonds in the Rough, it looks like Jerry Hollendorfer and Fox Hill Farms have a very exciting 2yo filly in their barn! The two-year-old filly Songbird looked fantastic breaking her maiden going six furlongs at Del Mar on Sunday, rattling off fractions of :22.08 and :45.66 before crossing the wire in front by 6 1/2 lengths in the time of 1:11.03 seconds. A daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, Songbird looks like a major contender for the big 2yo races later this summer and fall, including the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) at Del Mar on September 5th.
Trainer of the Week: Bill Mott
It’s hard to top what trainer Bill Mott accomplished during the first four days of the Saratoga meet! He started off with a winner on Friday and a winner on Saturday, then scored two victories apiece on Sunday and Monday to end the week with six winners, more than any other trainer at the meet. Furthermore, his horses also finished second three times and third once for a grand total of 10 on-the-board finishers from just 13 starters, a remarkable accomplishment!
Thrilling Finish of the Week: The Diana Stakes
There’s not much better than a three-horse photo finish, and that’s exactly what we witnessed in the July 25th Diana Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. After longshot Kitten’s Queen set quick fractions of :23.54, :47.20, 1:10.15, she was challenged for the lead Tepin and My Miss Sophia, who had been tracking the pace throughout the race. Kitten’s Queen gamely fought them off through a mile in 1:33.20, but in the final furlong, the talented Hard Not to Like came rallying fast on the far outside to win by a nose over Tepin, with Hard Not to Like a neck further back in fourth. The final time for nine furlongs was a blazing 1:45.22, which broke the course record. What a race!
Talk about a gigantic weekend for Curlin! He got off to a tremendous start with three winners on July 24th at Saratoga, including Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III) winner Off the Tracks, and his week only got better from there as his son Exaggerator won a maiden special weight on July 25th at Del Mar and his daughter Curalina won the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) via disqualification on July 26th. He also sired a sixth winner for the week when Top of Mind won an allowance race at Laurel on July 24th — wow!