Monomoy Girl romps in Ashland

Apr 08, 2018 Jennifer Caldwell/

Monomoy Girl will bring a two-race win streak into the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs after dominating her rivals by 5 1/2 lengths in Saturday’s $500,000 Ashland Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.

Jockey Florent Geroux guided the chestnut daughter of Tapizar, sending her straight to the front from her inside post when the gates opened. Monomoy Girl led all the way around the track, repelling challenges from several opponents on the turn and pulling away in the lane to complete 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track in 1:43.74.

The Brad Cox trainee was making her second start of the year in this spot, having showed up on February 17 at Fair Grounds to capture the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) by 2 1/2 lengths. She closed out her juvenile campaign suffering her only loss to date when a neck second after leading early the Golden Rod Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs last November 25.

Monomoy Girl’s win in the Rachel Alexandra and runner-up effort in the Golden Rod saw the filly bring 54 points toward a starting berth in the Kentucky Oaks into the Ashland, which is part of the Championship portion of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series. The race is worth 100-40-20-10 points to the respective top four finishers and boosted Monomoy Girl’s total to 154 points en route to the Run for the Lilies.

Eskimo Kisses raced in last for much of the Ashland but put in a furious rally on the outside nearing the final bend to take second. The chestnut daughter of To Honor and Serve brought a head second from her stakes debut in the March 24 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) into the Ashland, and exited the contest with 80 total points toward a starting berth in the Kentucky Oaks.

Patrona Margarita faced Monomoy Girl for the second straight time in this spot after finishing fourth in the Rachel Alexandra last out. She was no match for either of the top two in the Ashland, crossing under the wire 3 3/4 lengths behind Eskimo Kisses, but was awarded 20 Oaks points to bring her total to 35.

Last-out Florida Oaks (G3) heroine Andina Del Sur finished another 2 1/4 lengths behind in fourth while making her dirt bow here, good for 10 points to debut on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard.

Ipanema Beach, C. S. Incharge and Tyfosha completed the order of finish in the Ashland.

Campaigned by M. Dubb, Monomoy Stables LLC, The Elkstone Group LLC and Bethlehem Stables LLC, Monomoy Girl improved her record to 6-5-1-0 and has earned $556,550 lifetime.

The sophomore miss kicked off her career running on turf at Indiana Grand and Churchill Downs, scoring her maiden by 3 3/4 lengths at the former and taking an allowance/optional claimer at the latter by 1 1/4 lengths. She made her dirt debut in the Rags to Riches Stakes under the Twin Spires on October 29 and wired the one-mile contest by 6 1/2 lengths.

Bred in Kentucky by FPF LLC and Highfield Ranch, Monomoy Girl is out of the winning Henny Hughes mare Drumette and comes from the same female family as champion Heavenly Cause and 1991 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) hero Opening Verse.


Florent Geroux, jockey Monomoy Girl, winner

“There wasn't really a plan (regarding going for the lead), just wanted to get a good position and let the filly be comfortable. I hustled her a little bit from post one. We had the rail and we had the right of going. We just took it to them and she was the best. She can go very fast.”

Brad Cox, trainer Monomoy Girl, winner

“It's special (winning my first Grade 1 race). It means a lot to me that we've had her since her two-year-old year. She's really developed. We thought a lot of her last year and she's obviously taken it to the next level.

“She's breezed well but she's just a little slow from the gate. Even today she didn't break that sharp. (Jockey) Florent (Geroux) had to nudge her on a little bit to get position. She's always been a good work horse on the dirt. She's obviously dual-surface, but we'll stay on dirt for now (for the Kentucky Oaks).”

Corey Lanerie, jockey Eskimo Kisses, second

“She doesn't always show a lot of speed in her races so she was sitting back there biding her time. When it was time to go, I called on her and she gave me everything she had. The other filly is just super nice. But my filly ran good and galloped out good.”

On how her performance sets her up for the Kentucky Oaks

“I think more ground would be a whole lot better for her. That and maybe a little more pace up front in the race. We'll see what happens.”

Kenny McPeek, trainer Eskimo Kisses, second

“We were really pleased with her race. Obviously the winner is extremely fast and we have a lot of respect for her, but we feel pretty confident moving forward. A mile and an eighth we’re going to like even better. She's doing everything right, improving, and now we have Grade 1 type.”

Are you definitely moving on to the Oaks?

“For sure. We think dirt races at a mile and an eighth, a mile and a quarter, a mile and a half; she's going to love all that.”

Brian Hernandez Jr., jockey Patrona Margarita, third

'We followed the winner the whole way around and (Patrona Margarita) responded well and she ran on nicely. With the favorite (Monomoy Girl) being on the inside, I thought someone might go with her and press the pace more, but the winner was the best filly today.”

Bret Calhoun, trainer Patrona Margarita, third

'The Kentucky Oaks is a possibility; we won’t rule it out. But we may want to give her a little more time (between races). We look for her to move forward off this race. Today’s race set up how we thought it would. Monomoy Girl went right to the front and never really had any strong pressure and went in moderate fractions for a class horse like her.”

Julien Leparoux, jockey Andina Del Sur, fourth

“We were in a good spot. She ran a good race for her first time on the dirt. She probably likes the turf a little bit better, but she tried. She ran a good race.”

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