Monomoy Girl states Eclipse Award case in Coaching Club American Oaks

Jul 23, 2018 Kellie Reilly/

Kentucky Oaks (G1) heroine Monomoy Girl likely wrapped up the title of champion three-year-old filly with a fourth straight Grade 1 victory in Sunday’s $291,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) at Saratoga. The anticipated clash with Midnight Bisou hardly materialized, as Monomoy Girl held sway at every call.

“I thought that I had the best horse coming into the race,” jockey Florent Geroux said, “and I rode her like she was: take no prisoners, just take it to them right away and keep on going.

Dispatched as the 1-2 favorite in a short field of five, Monomoy Girl was attended by the 25-1 Gio Game in the first half-mile, but the longshot could not apply any serious pressure. Monomoy Girl traveled comfortably through a moderate pace and began to widen her advantage turning for home.

Midnight Bisou, who was too far back in the Kentucky Oaks when rallying belatedly for third, took up a much better tactical position in their rematch here. Perched in a stalking third early, the 6-5 second choice tried to creep closer, only to have Monomoy Girl get away from her again. Midnight Bisou would have needed a stiffer pace to have any hopes of tackling the favorite in the stretch, and when that scenario failed to develop, she faced a herculean task.

Monomoy Girl pulled three lengths clear while completing 1 1/8 miles on the fast track in 1:50.46.

“I put this race up there as high any of her other Grade 1 wins this year,” trainer Brad Cox said. “It wasn’t a big field, but it was a mile and an eighth. I think there’s a still a question mark if that’s her best distance, but she proved today that she can do.”

Midnight Bisou was easily best of the rest by 3 1/2 lengths, and her rider Mike Smith commented on the challenging way the race unfolded for her.

“I saw that she (Monomoy Girl) had company, I thought that would be good,” the Hall of Famer recapped. “Then I realized we weren’t going very quick down the backside so I tipped out, and tried to press the pace, just get her moving. I was very confident going into the far turn, I thought I had a shot at them, but then she (Monomoy Girl) kicked into another gear. But look, it’s not like she just got beat by some horse.”

Chocolate Martini, the 43-1 longest shot on the board, secured a coveted Grade 1 placing by getting up for third. Eskimo Kisses checked in fourth, and Gio Game faded to last after attempting to stay with the winner early.

Monomoy Girl, whose only loss came by a neck in last November’s Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs, has bankrolled $1,660,750 from a 9-8-1-0 record. After rolling in her seasonal reappearance in the February 17 Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds, the chestnut filly has compiled a championship-worthy resume of victories in the Ashland (G1) and Acorn (G1) along with her pair of prestigious Oaks trophies.

Cox has two possibilities in mind for her next start. Monomoy Girl could stretch out to 1 1/4 miles for the Alabama (G1) back at Saratoga on August 18, but the September 22 Cotillion (G1) at Parx may be the favored option, held around a more congenial 1 1/16 miles. Both are restricted to her own division, so Monomoy Girl wouldn’t face her elders until the November 3 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs. 

Monomoy Girl sidebar photo courtesy of NYRA/Coglianese Photography/Arianna Spadoni

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