by: Anne M. Eberhardt, @BH_AEberhardt
And the songbirds keep singin'
Like they know the score
And I love, I love you
I love you like never
-Songbird, by Eva
Songbird with Salbador Ceballos. Order This Photo
Champion Songbird's winter sabbatical at
Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm near Versailles,
Ky., will be over soon when the brilliant filly returns to California and
trainer Jerry Hollendorfer for Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farm.
Tack walking with Travis Warnken. Order This Photo
Arriving in mid-November, shortly after the Breeders' Cup, Songbird easily got into her routine at the WinStar training barn run by
trainer Richard Budge and assistant trainer Destin Heath. The champion
3-year-old filly elect followed a similar routine after her championship
Walking to her paddock. Order This Photo
Entrusted with the filly's daily needs, foreman
Salbador Ceballos was hands-on with the filly, grooming her and tacking her up
each morning and coordinating each day's plan with Heath.
Free to run in her paddock. Order This Photo
"She's by far the classiest
horse you've ever put your hands on. She has all the class in the
world," said Ceballos. "If all horses were like
this, it would be a beautiful thing."
In her paddock. Order This Photo
Travis Warnken tack-walked her inside the barn for about 30
minutes each morning from 7:30-8 am. She then would return to her stall for
more grooming, feeding, and about an hour of down time in her stall.
Enjoying her neighbors. Order This Photo
Kentucky offers a variety of weather at this time of year
from sunny, warm days to frigid, single temperature days with snow to heavy
rain days. When the weather cooperated and wasn't too extreme, Ceballos
would walk Songbird to her paddock where she would stay for about 4-5 hours.
and weather often determine their outdoor schedules," said Heath. "Songbird is all class and took it
all in stride."
Time for some hay. Order This Photo
Songbird easily adapted to her new environment and to the
weather. After a good gallop around her
paddock, the daughter of Medaglia d' Oro checked out her
waterer and then had some hay.
Taking in her surroundings. Order This Photo
"She had a long campaign, so the
goal was to build her back up before we sent her back to Hollendorfer," said Ceballos.
The champ. Order This Photo
As her stay concludes at WinStar, plans for Songbird's
2017 campaign have been outlined by Porter. For more on her 2017 plans click here to read Claire
Novak's recent interview.
"We are truly blessed that Mr.
Hollendorfer and Mr. Porter once again entrusted us with this filly," said Heath.
Also a finalist for Horse of the Year honors, plans are for
Songbird to return to California in late January.
Special thanks to Rick Porter and Victoria Keith of Fox Hill
Farm, and to Team WinStar for the
opportunity to spend time with and photograph Songbird.
For more images of Songbird's sabbatical click here to visit the BloodHorse Photostore.