Eclipse Award-winning mare Monomoy Girl will kick off her 2020 graded stakes campaign in attempt to make a case for champion older mare in next Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Ruffian Stakes on July 11 at Belmont Park.
The daughter of Tapizar arrived at Belmont Park on Wednesday alongside Grade 1 Met Mile contender Warrior's Charge for trainer Brad Cox. Following a sensational 3-year-old campaign in 2018, which included five Grade 1 victories in the Ashland at Keeneland, Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, Acorn at Belmont Park, Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga and the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs, Monomoy Girl missed the entirety of her 4-year-old season.
She was sent to WinStar Farm last spring after a mild case of colic and suffered an injury to her hamstring last fall when preparing for a potential comeback.
Despite being forced to twice delay her long-anticipated return to action, Monomoy Girl put her winning ways on display last out, going a one-turn mile in a Churchill Downs allowance event that featured stakes winners Talk Veuve To Me and Fashion Faux Pas.
In her first start since defeating older fillies and mares in the 2018 Breeders' Cup Distaff, Monomoy Girl tracked the pace over a sloppy main track sitting a close fifth early on and received her cue from jockey Florent Geroux around the far turn before drawing off to a 2 ¾-length victory.
"She's doing awesome. It would help if we could have run a week or two earlier but it's a great spot to jump off her last effort," said Liz Crow of BSW/Crow Bloodstock who manages Monomoy Girl on behalf of owners Monomoy Stable, Michael Dubb, the Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables.
Although the talented chestnut mare's career highlights have taken place in the two-turn Kentucky Oaks and Breeders' Cup Distaff, Crow said she can thrive going a one-turn mile. She owns victories going the distance in the Grade 1 Acorn in June 2018 as well as the Rags to Riches at Churchill Downs during her 2-year-old campaign.
Crow indicated a second victory in the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff on November 7 at Keeneland Race Course is the end goal.
"She's deadly going a one turn mile," Crow said. "Her speed figures in the Acorn, Rags to Riches and her last start were great. But from here, she'll see a mile and a sixteenth to a mile and an eighth. The Personal Ensign is a little quick back after the Ruffian, but we do know that the Breeders' Cup is definitely the long term."
Crow, who signed the ticket for Monomoy Girl when she went through the sales ring at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, was purchased for $100,000.
"It's amazing how much she's changed," Crow said. "If you look at her you could mistake her for a colt. Her hips have widened, her shoulders have deepened, and looking her now as a 5-year-old she just doesn't look like the same horse. She's better now than she's ever been."
Monomoy Girl has accumulated just over $3 million in lifetime earnings and has never finished worse than second in a dozen starts, 10 of which were victories.