Monomoy Girl has 'improved a lot mentally' ahead of Acorn Stakes

Press Release
June 03, 2018 03:53pm
Monomoy Girl has 'improved a lot mentally' ahead of Acorn Stakes
Photo: Coady Photography
The 10-minute time slot that Churchill Downs sets aside every morning for Belmont Stakes horses was opened up to another equine luminary Sunday, with Kentucky Oaks winner Monomoy Girl working a half-mile in 47 1/5 seconds with older stablemate Dazzling Gem as America's leading 3-year-old filly prepares for Saturday's Grade 1, $700,000 Acorn.

Churchill Downs clockers caught Monomoy Girl in splits of 12 2/5 seconds for the first eighth-mile, 24 for the quarter-mile and 36 for three-eighths. She was timed galloping out five furlongs in 59 4/5 and six furlongs in 1:12 3/5. With jockey Florent Geroux at Keeneland to work Met Mile contender Bolt d'Oro, exercise rider Mario Garcia was aboard for the work.

"I was really pleased with what we accomplished. She seemed to cool out fine," said trainer Brad Cox, shooting for a third straight Grade 1 victory with Monomoy Girl, who gave him the first in his training career in Keeneland's Ashland Stakes. "I wanted to keep her sharp. We're shortening up to a mile. She had a really nice breeze last week, and she followed it up with a similar breeze this week. The only difference was that we broke off at the five-eighths pole last week and this week we broke off at the half. The times were very similar. She was breezing really well, in the bridle. I like everything about her. She certainly doesn't seem like she's regressed at all."
Also in company with Dazzling Gem, Monomoy Girl worked before the races last Sunday, getting an official time of 59 2/5 for five furlongs and with a gallop-out time of 1:12 4/5 under Geroux.

Cox said working with another horse "just keeps her focused. We've only worked her once this year without company. It was her first work after the Rachel Alexandra. She worked fine, but she's still a young horse. She's 3, and I'm looking for honest works out of her. I know I'm going to get an honest work out of her with company. If I send her on her own, I could maybe not get as much out of her. I'd hate to not get what I was looking for as far as going into a race.

"Now is not the time to experiment. We got this far with her keeping her in company and keeping her sharp, and it worked out well."

Monomoy Girl has won six of her seven starts, the only defeat coming by a neck in last fall's Grade 2 Golden Rod at Churchill Downs. She is 3 for 3 this year, starting off with a victory in the Fair Grounds' Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra. Cox never pushed the filly, starting her off in a maiden grass race at Indiana Downs, then a Churchill Downs turf allowance followed by the $80,000 Rags to Riches on dirt as a prep for the Golden Rod.

"Even after she won the first-level allowance race here in September, if someone had told me she'd win the Oaks, I'd probably have said, 'Aw, I couldn't really see that happening right now,'" Cox said. "But she did develop on the dirt. She really started moving forward and picking it up and showing she was a filly with a lot of quality. I think she's improved a lot mentally since the Oaks. She seems to be real focused in her gallops and obviously her breezes. I'm really happy with where we are with her."

Monomoy Girl is owned by Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, the Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables. She is scheduled to fly to New York Wednesday.


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