Valor On Song

Likely the most talented 3-year-old race horse of either sex on the planet

The outstanding Songbird’s 11-year-old half-sister Wide Range has been purchased in Thailand by Team Valor International, which has arranged to have the Mineshaft mare flown to Chicago on Saturday.

Prior to the birth of her Eclipse Award and Breeders’ Cup-winning half-sister, Wide Range was bought from the November Breeding Stock Sale at Keeneland by an owner-breeder who exported the mare to Thailand.


Songbird – poetry in motion

Team Valor, which has a history of prospecting bloodstock in the far reaches of racing and breeding, plans to foal the mare at Denali Stud and will breed her back this spring either to its Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom or Songbird’s sire Medaglia d’Oro. A decision will be made after the mare drops a foal she is carrying to the cover of Belmont turf stakes winner English Colony.

Wide Range, prior to leaving for Asia, left a 2010 colt named Mico Margarita.

Racing for trainer Steve Asmussen, the Run Away And Hide colt won 6 times in 22 starts, including the Grade 3 Carry Back Stakes at Calder among 4 stakes victories and placed in the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga. He earned $480,251.

Animal Kingdom and Barry Irwin

Barry Irwin with Animal Kingdom and jockey John Velazquez after winning the Kentucky Derby

Team Valor has put together an impressive band of mares bought specifically to breed to Animal Kingdom, including Beholder’s Australian-based half-sister Victory Party, whose only foal to race in America was a winner of 3 races in 5 starts. Ten-year-old Victory Party has produced a pair of fillies by Animal Kingdom in Australia at Arrowfield Stud.

The acquisition of Medaglia d’Oro’s daughter’s half-sister  has got to be one of the most exciting yet.

Writing on Thoroughbreddailynews, Bill Finley suggests that Songbird is likely the most talented 3-year-old race horse of either sex on the planet.

He says she belongs in the starting gate of the Kentucky Derby on  the first Saturday in May and not the first Friday, the Oaks day.

On Saturday, Songbird picked up where she left off in 2015, winning the Gr2  Las Virgenes at Santa Anita, treating her opponents with disdain as she arrogantly cantered across the wire, slowed to a near walk by jockey Mike Smith. The winning margin was 6 ½ lengths. It seemed like it could have been 60.

In the previous race, the Lewis, Mor Spirit looked good. Songbird looked sensational.

After the Las Virgenes, Porter said what he’s been saying all along. No Derby.

1964 Kentucky Derby

1964 Kentucky Derby – the race everybody wants to win

“It would be nice to win the Kentucky Derby, but I’d like to do it with a nice colt ,” the owner said. “I don’t like the [Kentucky Derby] point system. We’d have to run in the GI Santa Anita Derby with her. I think it’d be great for your ego, but the smart move is to stay on the path we’re on to the [Kentucky] Oaks.”

It’s not too late for Porter to change his mind. He can pay $6,000 to make his filly eligible as a supplemental nominee to the Triple Crown. That would, at least, keep his options open.

Don’t do it for ego gratification or for the money. Do it because it’s what Songbird deserves.

She could be one of the greatest fillies ever to race. Something that special deserves the biggest stage, something that special has earned the right to vie for immortality.

Part reporting by 

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