Monomoy Girl and Improbable Crowned Champion Older Dirt Horses

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Monomoy GirlHorsephotos

Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) came into 2020 toting lofty expectations on top of an already gaudy record. After enjoying a truly spectacular sophomore year, annexing six of seven starts–five of them at the Grade I level–including the Longines Kentucky Oaks, Acorn S. and Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff, she spent the entire 2019 season on the sidelines because of a mild case of colic followed by a hamstring injury. The half-sister to GII Risen Star S. winner Mr. Monomoy (Palace Malice) finally marked her long-awaited return in a May 16 optional claiming event at Churchill Downs, winning by 2 3/4 lengths. Heavily favored for the May 16 GII Ruffian S. at Belmont, the now 6-year-old edged away to a two-length score before adding a tally in Churchill's GI La Troienne S. Sept. 4. Doing exactly what she was expected to do in her seasonal finale in the GI Breeders' Cup Distaff at Churchill, she employed her customary off-the-pace style to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Valiance (Tapit). Offered at the Fasig-Tipton November sale by her connections, the one-time $100,000 Keeneland November yearling flourished into a $9.5 million broodmare prospect for her buyer Spendthrift Farm.

Improbable (City Zip) raced on the bubble of stardom throughout his career, but it was in his 4-year-old season that he truly ascended to the top levels of the sport. Tabbed a 'TDN Rising Star' when he won the Street Sense S. by a dominating 7 1/4 lengths as a 2-year-old in 2018, the handsome chestnut ended his juvenile campaign with a win in the GI Los Alamitos Futurity. He performed creditably at three, with runner-up efforts in the GII Rebel S. and GI Arkansas Derby leading to a fifth-place effort in the GI Kentucky Derby and a sixth in the GI Preakness S.

Improbable opened 2020 in similar fashion, finishing second behind Tom's d'Etat (Smart Strike) in the Oaklawn Mile in April, but it was all blue skies and rainbows after that. He returned to the West Coast to score a 3 1/4-length victory in the GI Hollywood Gold Cup S. in June, then ventured back East to win the GI Whitney S. in August.

While he uncharacteristically trailed the field for much of the GI Awesome Again S., Improbable uncorked a furious rally on the final bend, inhaling the field–including stablemate and fellow Eclipse finalist Maximum Security (New Year's Day)–at the top of the stretch and bounding clear to a geared-down 4 1/2-length victory.

Improbable attempted that same rally just over a month later in the GI Longines Breeders' Cup Classic at Keeneland, but was never able to reel in pacesetting stablemate Authentic (Into Mischief). His runner-up effort behind that champion 3-year-old was enough, however, to earn him the championship of his division.

Improbable was retired following the Classic and begins his stud career next month at WinStar Farm at a fee of $40,000 S&N.

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