May 16 Insights: Monomoy Girl Back At Last, Baffert Debuts Million-Dollar Pharoah Filly

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Monomoy Girl winning the 2018 Distaff | Horsephotos

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4th-CD, $85K, Alw/Opt. Clm ($80K), 3yo/up, f/m, 1m, 2:32 p.m. ET

Wildly popular champion MONOMOY GIRL (Tapizar) headlines a stacked opening day card at Churchill as she makes her long-awaited return in the day’s fourth race. Unseen since locking up her 3-year-old filly title with a score in the GI Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff over this track in 2018, the chestnut has overcome a variety of issues and comes back with a snappy worktab in tow for trainer Brad Cox. Showing a half-dozen breezes at Keeneland, including a trio of bullets, she completed preparations with a five-furlong move in :59 2/5 (3/16) May 9.

“It’s been a long time coming but we are thrilled for her to return to the races,” Cox told the Churchill notes team earlier this week. “She’s been working great down at Keeneland since late March and we’re looking forward to this first step back.”

Made the 4-5 morning-line favorite, she faces a formidable foe if Talk Veuve to Me (Violence) is able to recapture her top form. A graded stakes winner and Grade I placed behind Monomoy Girl as a sophomore, she scored just once in six starts at four and was last seen running seventh in the GII Thoroughbred Club of America S. Oct. 5 in Lexington. The ‘TDN Rising Star’ returns for new trainer Steve Asmussen after being purchased for $1.3 million by Stonestreet Stables at Keeneland November. She had previously been conditioned by Rodolphe Brisset. TJCIS PPs

3rd-SA, $50K, Msw, 3yo/up, f/m, 5 1/2fT, 4:33 p.m. ET

Grand Farm’s HIMIKO (American Pharoah) tied for the highest price of all weanlings when hammering for a cool $1 million at Fasig-Tipton November in 2017, and she starts her account in this turf sprint for Bob Baffert. A half-brother to MGISW and sire Bodemeister (Empire Maker) and MGISP Fascinating (Smart Strike), the bay is out of GSW/GISP Untouched Talent (Storm Cat), while her second dam is MGSW Parade Queen (A.P. Indy). She has drilled sharply over the local main track, including a best-of-111 half-mile from the gate in :46 2/5 Apr. 16 (XBTV video). Another pricey Baffert debutante breaks from the widest-out 12-hole in Fierce for Sul (Speightstown). Out of GSP C J’s Leelee (Mizzen Mast)–a half-sister to GISW Capo Bastone (Street Boss)–the gray sold for $650,000 at OBS March last term after breezing a furlong in :10 flat. She, too, shows swift works on the Arcadia dirt, most recently going a half-mile in :47 flat (2/69) May 10. TJCIS PPs

10th-CD, $81K, Alw/Opt. Clm ($75K), 3yo, f, 7f, 5:44 p.m. ET

Well-regarded ‘TDN Rising Star’ AURELIA GARLAND (Constitution) resurfaces off a year-plus layoff in this allowance for new trainer Rodolphe Brisset. Debuting as an odds-on chalk last May for Wesley Ward, the $185,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga graduate ran to the money with an easy five-length triumph. Scratched out of a similar spot last Sunday at Gulfstream, she displays a half-dozen Palm Meadows breezes, highlighted by a four-furlong bullet in :48 flat (1/17) May 4. TJCIS PPs

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