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Mike Smith (jockey)

Songbird is up to the challenge at Saratoga

Songbird is up to the challenge at Saratoga

When track announcer Larry Collmus introduced Songbird during the post parade for the 100th edition of the Coaching Club American Oaks on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course, he paused a beat to allow the crowd to salute the undefeated 2-year-old champion.

There was not even a smattering of applause, only an awkward silence. Yes, the filly had swept her first eight starts by a combined 42½ lengths. But she had done virtually all of her damage on the West Coast; New Yorkers eyeballing her in person for the first time would need some convincing.

Their apparent skepticism vanished as Songbird, forced to dig deep for the first time, repulsed a challenge from Carina Mia...