The far outside post in a 14-filly field proved to be no problem for Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) Friday evening as she gutted out a three-quarter-length victory over determined ‘TDN Rising Star’ Wonder Gadot (Medaglia d’Oro). Originally quoted as the 2-1 morning-line favorite, GI Ashland S. victress was sent off as the 5-2 second-choice behind California’s best sophomore filly and 2-1 favorite Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute), a powerful winner of the GI Santa Anita Oaks last time out.
Bumping her inside neighbors a bit as she hustled up to establish position from her outside draw, Monomoy Girl ran two-wide in a joint second with stablemate Sassy Siena (Midshipman) as the speedy MGSW Take Charge Paula (Take Charge Indy) took up her preferred position at the head of affairs, clicking off early fractions of :23.48 and :47.70. Monomoy Girl and Sassy Siena drew even with the pacesetter on the backstretch run, but it was only a matter of strides before Monomoy Girl put both of those rivals away and drew clear. However, MGSW Wonder Gadot was just finding her best stride beneath John Velazquez and ranged up three wide to take on Monomoy Girl turning for home. The pair battled stride-for-stride down the lane, exchanging a few bumps in the process, but Monomoy Girl would not be denied and summoned all she had to edge clear of Wonder Gadot in the final strides and take home the lillies. Velazquez lodged an objection into the stretch run, but the results stood as they were. Midnight Bisou ran near the back of the pack most of the way and rallied strongly down the center of the lane to be third.
“It was unbelievable,” said winning conditioner Brad Cox, who also saddled sixth-place finisher Sassy Siena and eighth-place Kelly’s Humor (Midnight Lute). “It worked out just the way we planned. That was the trip we were hoping for. Florent [Geroux] did a great job getting her out of the gate and getting her into position. She was three wide into the first turn. That was kind of what we expected. It all went well. She was able to put herself where she needed to be and kick on down the lane. She did look like she got a little hesitant at the quarter pole and Florent said he had to stay on to her. She responded and finished strong down the lane.”
“This is an unbelievable feeling,” said jockey Florent Geroux, who scored his first Oaks win Friday. “The filly was sharp early and I just hustled her out of the gate to get a good position. From there I was pretty confident, but when I hit the quarter pole, her ears were flopping back and forth and she tried putting the brakes on me until she saw Wonder Gadot. When the other filly got head to head, I gave her a few slaps to keep her interested, but she can be quirky. You can get after her too much and she stops. I kept hand riding her and she pulled away at the end.”
Mark Casse, trainer of runner-up Wonder Gadot, said, “The filly that won ran very game. There was contact and it made our filly switch her leads. I think it was going to be really close, but I think the stewards made the right call. To take a horse down in this type of race, it would have to be pretty significant. As much as I would like to have won, I understand the ruling. I’m very proud of her. She’s definitely a wonder woman.”
As for beaten favorite Midnight Bisou, Hall of Famer Mike Smith said, “The inside horses made a right turn leaving the gate and ran right into me. It cost me quite a bit. It cost me position. I don’t know if the bad start cost me the race but it cost me enough. We will never know.”
Opening her account with a pair of wins on turf last September, Monomoy Girl romped by 6 1/2 lengths when trying dirt for the first time in the Rags to Riches S. over this strip
Oct. 29. Suffering the first and only defeat of her career thus far when a neck second in this venue’s GII Golden Rod S. Nov. 25, the $100,000 KEESEP buy kicked off her sophomore season with a victory over Classy Act (Into Mischief) and Wonder Gadot in the GII Rachel Alexandra S. at Fair Grounds Feb. 17. She scored the first Grade I win of not only her career, but also of her sire’s and trainer’s careers, last time with a decisive 5 1/2-length triumph in the GI Ashland S. at Keeneland Apr. 7.
Monomoy Girl’s breeders purchased her dam Drumette, a daughter of MSW Endless Parade and half-sister to GSW Drum Major (Dynaformer), with the winner in utero for $75,000 at the 2014 Keeneland November sale. The 10-year-old mare is also responsible for a 2-year-old full-brother to Monomoy Girl named Cowboy Diplomacy and a yearling colt by Palace Malice. She was bred back to Shackleford. Click here for a TDN feature on Monomoy Girl’s breeders.
Saturday, Churchill Downs
LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS-GI, $1,000,000, CD, 5-4, 3yo, f, 1 1/8m, 1:49.13, ft.
1–MONOMOY GIRL, 121, f, 3, by Tapizar
1st Dam: Drumette, by Henny Hughes
2nd Dam: Endless Parade, by Williamstown
3rd Dam: Mnemosyne, by Saratoga Six
($100,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-M Dubb, Monomoy Stables, LLC, The Elkstone Group LLC and Bethlehem Stables LLC; B-FPF LLC & Highfield Ranch (KY); T-Brad H. Cox; J-Florent Geroux. $564,200. Lifetime Record: 7-6-1-0, $1,120,750. Click for eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus*2–Wonder Gadot, 121, f, 3, by Medaglia d’Oro
1st Dam: Loving Vindication, by Vindication
2nd Dam: Chimichurri, by Elusive Quality
3rd Dam: Hard Knocker, by Raja Baba
($80,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP; $325,000 2yo ’17 OBSAPR). ‘TDN Rising Star’ O-Gary Barber; B-Anderson Farms Ont. Inc. (ON); T-Mark E. Casse. $182,000. 3–Midnight Bisou, 121, f, 3, by Midnight Lute
1st Dam: Diva Delite, by Repent
2nd Dam: Tour Hostess, by Tour d’Or
3rd Dam: Counsel’s Gal, by High Counsel
($19,000 RNA Ylg ’16 KEESEP; $80,000 2yo ’17 OBSAPR). O-Allen Racing LLC and Bloom Racing Stable LLC (Jeffrey Bloom); B-Woodford Thoroughbreds, LLC. (KY); T-William Spawr. $91,000.Margins: HF, 3 3/4, HF. Odds: 2.60, 16.90, 2.30.
Also Ran: Eskimo Kisses, Chocolate Martini, Sassy Sienna, Coach Rocks, Kelly’s Humor, Heavenhasmynikki, Classy Act, My Miss Lilly, Patrona Margarita, Rayya, Take Charge Paula.
Click for the Equineline.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.