Monomoy Girl 'hasn't missed a beat' since Kentucky Oaks win

May 23, 2018 10:01am

Trainer Brad Cox pointed out Wednesday morning that the only race in which Monomoy Girl engaged in a serious stretch duel before her Kentucky Oaks victory, she lost.

“I think she’s still figuring it out, but she took a big step forward having to battle to win,” Cox said. “That’s something we didn’t know she had.”

The quirky Oaks champ remains on track to start in what’s sizing up as a monster race on the June 9 Belmont Stakes undercard, the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Monomoy Girl, a daughter of Tapizar, returned to the work tab Sunday with a half mile breeze in 48.80 seconds at Churchill Downs. She continued training Wednesday with a gallop under the Twin Spires.

“She hasn’t missed a beat,” Cox said. “Her weight’s great. Her coat’s great. She couldn’t be doing any better.”

And that’s a pleasant surprise after Monomoy Girl overcame some adversity in the May 4 Oaks. She broke from the outside post, was used up a bit early to establish position and out-finished Wonder Gadot for a half-length score under jockey Florent Geroux.

“It wasn’t an easy race,” Cox said. “I thought one of the most encouraging things I saw from the race was when she was galloping out, she threw her ears forward like, ‘Is that it?’”

That’s a major improvement seeing where Monomoy Girl was at age 2.

She cruised to three straight wins to open her career before beaten a neck by Road to Victory in the Grade 2 Golden Rod, also at Churchill. That was a knockdown fight, evidenced by the fact that Road to Victory hasn’t made a start since. But it also showed connections that Monomoy Girl doesn’t much like to be hustled by her rider.

It wasn’t until the Oaks that Geroux really needed to dig in again.

“Obviously, Florent has done a great job with her,” Cox said. “She’s lightly raced. It’s not as if she’s old or has done this 20 times. I think she’s still figuring it out, but she took a big step forward having to battle to win. That’s something we didn’t know she had.”

In the Acorn, run at a mile, Monomoy Girl is expected to face post time Oaks favorite Midnight Bisou and Caledonia Road, the champion 2-year-old filly who returned an allowance winner in her sophomore debut.

 

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