SANTA ANITA : An Encore in the Oaks for ‘Song


The Hollywood Starlet was such a good race that Santa Anita staged a sequel Sunday.

There were some minor alterations in the script, but the ending was the same in the $211,600 Santa Anita Oaks.

Serena’s Song was a nose better than Urbane in the Starlet on Dec. 17 at Hollywood Park, and a head was the difference Sunday after a change in one of the principal players. Eddie Delahoussaye replaced Corey Black on Urbane.

In winning for the fifth time in her last six starts, Serena’s Song became the first filly to complete a sweep of Santa Anita’s series for 3-year-old fillies. Earlier, she won the Santa Ynez and Las Virgenes.


Tracking a slower-than-expected pace set by Mari’s Sheba, the 7-10 favorite took charge when Corey Nakatani asked her to, opened a 2 1/2-length lead an eighth of a mile from the finish, then held off the 9-5 second choice. Over a tiring track, Serena’s Song completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42 3/5.

This was the seventh victory in 12 starts for the Rahy filly, owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis, and the victory increased her earnings to $871,435.

With nothing more for her in California, Serena’s Song is bound for other venues, with the primary target being the Kentucky Oaks on May 5. She is trainer Wayne Lukas’ best hope for that race, and with Timber Country and Thunder Gulch, he has a chance at a rare Kentucky Oaks-Kentucky Derby parlay.

That double has been accomplished only three times, most recently by Ben Jones in 1952. He won the Oaks with Real Delight and the Derby with Hill Gale.

“We’ll map out something that will put us right on target for the Oaks,” Lukas said. “We want the Oaks very badly, and I know it would mean a lot to Bob Lewis to win a championship if we can get it.

“This filly has gotten awfully professional and I think Corey (Nakatani) expects it too. He just rides her like he’s dreamed it and he already knows the outcome. Even when it gets tight, I don’t think he ever really goes to jumping up and down or panicking. He just rides her like she’s going to get there--maybe (by) a nose, a neck or a head, but she’s going to get there.”