Monomoy Girl's on the verge of a special season

September 11, 2018 10:50am

A determined victory on the big stage of the Kentucky Oaks may be the race most remembered, but in totality, the season Monomoy Girl is rather quietly putting together has been special. Unbeaten in five starts in 2018, the daughter of Tapizar will put her winning streak on the line in the upcoming Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion Stakes.

Two featured events at Parx Racing will showcase many of the top 3-year-olds in training on Sept. 22. While the Pennsylvania Derby figures to be an intriguing clash between the likes of McKinzie, Hofburg, Mr Freeze, Bravazo and Axelrod, the female counterpart looks to be all about the Brad Cox-trained chestnut.

In her latest outing, the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks, Monomoy Girl once again took her show on the road and left no doubt as to who is the reigning queen of the division. In easily turning away one of her top rivals in the division, Midnight Bisou, she maintained and built upon the tremendous form that she has carried since the beginning of the season.

Remember, back in February when she made her seasonal debut, Monomoy Girl got off to a horrid start in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds. Unable to rely on her strong natural tactical speed, all Monomoy Girl did was offer her impression of Zenyatta with a powerful stretch kick that carried her to a going away victory over Wonder Gadot, among others. 
The race that started it all for her perfect sophomore year is also the only non-Grade 1 race on her 2018 resume.

Monomoy Girl had no such gate trouble when she returned to Kentucky for Keeneland's Grade 1 Ashland Stakes. Taking the race to her competition, she set out right for the lead and never looked back on her way to a stylish 5 1/2-length score over the future Alabama Stakes winner. Eskimo Kisses is just one in what is becoming a long line of fillies that lose to the division leader, then later come back to strong stakes wins of their own.

From there, Monomoy Girl faced her toughest test yet against a large field which lined up for the prestigious Kentucky Oaks. On the afternoon before Justify began his Triple Crown run, she demonstrated her toughness and determination when looked right in the eye by the future Queen's Plate winner Wonder Gadot. The gritty victory on the first Friday in May emphasized her as the leader of the 3-year-old fillies, but the hits did not stop coming.

Again overshadowed by all that was Justify, Monomoy Girl cut back to one-turn for the historic Acorn Stakes. The race was over by the time the field hit the top of the stretch at Belmont Park. The talented Talk Veuve to Me tried hard, but was no match for the filly that fires every single time.

Saratoga was next, and once again a new track was no problem for Monomoy Girl and rider Florent Geroux. Toying with the accomplished Midnight Bisou that afternoon of the CCA Oaks, she raised her lifetime record to eight wins from nine starts, with her lone
 loss coming at 2, when narrowly defeated in the Golden Rod.

Adding to the flare of what has been her 3-year-old season is the impressive fact that her record has been assembled over five surfaces. When Monomoy Girl enters the starting gate as the Cotillion favorite, it will mark her sixth separate racetrack in which she's run in six starts this year.

Clearly, Monomoy Girl is having an excellent season, but there is still plenty left at the table for the filly owned in partnership by Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables. In the rich Cotillion, she could see both Wonder Gadot and Eskimo Kisses take a third shot at her, while
 the biggest test of all, the Breeders' Cup Distaff, remains on the horizon. There, the difficult assignment of taking on two top older mares, Abel Tasman and Elate, awaits Monomoy Girl. Much to do, but she's a filly capable of standing up to the challenge.

If Monomoy Girl can win the Cotillion in 12 days, as expected, and then go on to defeat the older girls in the Breeders' Cup, it would mark one of the finest seasons by a 3-year-old filly in decades. In fact, a 7-for-7 season, in only big races, would compare to the best of the 21st century.

Nine years ago, 
Rachel Alexandra set the gold standard among sophomore fillies of this century with an amazing season which saw her win all eight starts. She thoroughly dominated her female competition, while thrice beating the boys in the Preakness, Haskell and Woodward. She remains the only 3-year-old filly in modern racing to take home the Horse of the Year honor.

More recently there was Untapable, who was able to beat the older mares in the Breeders' Cup Distaff of 2014. It was the culmination of a season that saw her win 6-of-7, with her only loss coming in an off the board finish against the males in the Haskell.

Even more impressive than her, though, was the 2016 campaign of 
Songbird. As with Rachel Alexandra, a good looking daughter of Medaglia d'Oro, the Fox Hill Farm runner came oh so close to an unbeaten season two years ago. Her perfect record, which included seven straight impressive wins to begin the season, was nipped in a duel for the ages by the champion older mare Beholder in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

Where Monomoy Girl fits in with the best 3-year-old fillies of recent years is yet to be determined, and stuff of water cooler talk, but it cannot be denied that she is on the verge of a special season.


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Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing show, HorseCenter and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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