Monomoy Girl dominant in Coaching Club American Oaks

July 22, 2018 05:46pm
Monomoy Girl dominant in Coaching Club American Oaks
Photo: Courtesy of the NYRA
Monomoy Girl reasserted her dominance over her 3-year-old counterparts Sunday by gliding to a win in the Grade 1, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks. And that could be just about all the near-unbeaten filly needs to already lock up a year-end championship in her division.

It was a front-running score at Saratoga for Monomoy Girl, who's trained by Brad Cox and was ridden by Florent Geroux to a final time of 1:50.46 for 1 1/8 miles.

Midnight Bisou, the second choice in a field of five, was second with Chocolate Martini third at 43-1. By the wire, Monomoy Girl had geared down after setting fractions of 24.12, 48.23 and 1:12.43 on a humid day at the Spa.

"Maybe inside the half-mile pole, that's really when I started maybe getting a little nervous," Cox said. "I was sweating a little bit...she jumped on. She's a nice filly. I'm so proud of her, and maybe a couple more races and we can call her an Eclipse (Award) champion."

The victory marked a fourth straight Grade 1 score for the daughter of Tapizar, who this year has also won Keeneland's Ashland, the Kentucky Oaks and Belmont Park's Acorn.

A partnership of Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, the Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables campaigns Monomoy Girl, who is expected to race once more before the Breeders' Cup Distaff, when she'll face older competition for the first time.

Midnight Bisou, who was the post time favorite in the Kentucky Oaks, had the excuse of a bad break and rallied for third that day. Since then, she had moved to trainer Steve Asmussen's barn and scored an impressive victory at Belmont Park in the Grade 2 Mother Goose.

Until the final few clicks, Midnight Bisou held favoritism Sunday. But the winner was ultimately off at 1/2 and returned $3 to win.

"She's a horse that people train a lifetime and never have an opportunity to have in their barn," said Cox, who has trained Monomoy Girl to eight wins in nine career starts, the only defeat by a neck at age 2. "We're very grateful and so appreciative of the owners for giving us the opportunity with her.

"She's unbelievable. She's a class act, and she shows up ever time for us -- every single time."

Geroux hurried Monomoy Girl from the gate, and she did receive pressure to her outside by the Mark Casse-trained longshot, Gio Game. Midnight Bisou sat a few lengths off those two until the top of the stretch, when jockey Mike Smith positioned his filly outside of Monomoy Girl.

The chestnut -- and likely champion -- drove on from there, much the best on Sunday and, so far, all year against these rivals.

The final margin was two lengths.

"Sometimes, she'll put the brakes on by the three-eighths pole and stuff, looking around and slowing herself down," Geroux said. "Today, she stayed a little bit longer, maybe all the way until the eighth pole and at the end, she was really waiting on company. That's why the margin is never going to like 15 lengths, but I had a plenty in the tank."


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