Champion filly Songbird, a two-time Eclipse Award winner who won 13 of her 15 career races, has been retired because of physical issues. Owner Rick Porter made the announcement on the Fox Hill Farms Facebook page.
Porter sent Songbird, a 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., to be examined after she finished second in Saturday’s Grade I Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. X-rays showed damage to her hind suspensories and a severe bone chip, according to Porter.
Porter said veterinarian Larry Bramlage told him it would be dangerous for Songbird to continue training and that he wasn’t optimistic the problem would disappear even if given ample time to heal.
Songbird was never her brilliant self after losing by a nose to Beholder in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita. As a 4-year-old, she won two of three races while looking nothing like the filly who dominated her opposition at ages 2 and 3. Her Beyer Speed Figures, which peaked at 105 last year, were down significantly in 2017.
Porter said on Facebook that Songbird had bone bruising during the winter and a specific area was slow to heal, resulting in a late start to her 4-year-old season. Said Porter: “The three races from Songbird this year weren’t what we expected from the bigger, stronger, and smarter Songbird. There were so many variables with her long layoff, shipping, tiring tracks, going 1 1/4 miles, and more, we were never sure which of the variables may explain what wasn’t quite Songbird.”
Porter said Songbird seemed off in her hind end after the Personal Ensign and her lameness was “readily apparent to Dr. Bramlage.” Ultrasounds showed both hind suspensories were enlarged.
Songbird ends her career with nine Grade I victories at seven tracks and earnings of $4,692,000. Porter said she will be offered at the Fasig-Tipton November mixed sale.