For the second time in five years, Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm has snatched up a prized champion campaigned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale. On Monday evening, dual champion SONGBIRD was the star of the proceedings when garnering a final bid of $9.5 million.
At the 2012 November Sale, Pope was the winning bidder at $10 million for Havre de Grace, who was named Horse of the Year and champion older female at age four in 2011.
Songbird has two Eclipse Awards of her own, for two-year-old filly in 2015 and three-year-old filly in 2016, but saw her illustrious career come to a premature end this summer due to wear and tear discovered in a physical examination following an upset loss in the Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga.
Songbird lost that race by a neck to Forever Unbridled, who captured the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Del Mar this past Friday. Songbird had beaten that rival to the wire in last year’s Distaff at Santa Anita, but lost that one, too, by a nose to four-time champion mare Beholder.
Those were the only career losses for Songbird, who retired with 13 wins in 15 starts for earnings of $4,692,000. Twelve of her wins were in graded stakes, eight of which were at Grade 1 level.
Songbird won her first 10 starts, including four as a juvenile when she captured the Del Mar Debutante (G1), Chandelier (G1), and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), the latter at Keeneland.
Her three-year-old championship was earned with seven straight victories: the Las Virgenes (G2), Santa Ysabel (G3), Santa Anita Oaks (G1), Summertime Oaks (G2), Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), Alabama (G1), and Cotillion (G1). Her average margin of victory through her first 10 starts was more than six lengths.
Although meeting defeat for the first time in an epic renewal of the Distaff, the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee was back to her winning ways this summer taking the Ogden Phipps (G1) and Delaware H. (G1), albeit by less-impressive margins of one length each. She went favored in all but her debut at Del Mar on July 26, 2015.
Songbird was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent for Fox Hill, and sported Hip No. 120. She’s by Medaglia d’Oro and out of the Grade 2-winning Ivanavinalot, by West Acre.