Monomoy Girl Primed For Big Effort in Distaff, But Will It Be Her Last?

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Monomoy GirlCoady

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Two years since Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) won the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff and after a lost 2019, the 5-year-old mare is apparently doing so well that trainer Brad Cox said she is better now than she was in 2018 when she crossed the wire first in all seven of her races. That could mean a second Distaff win. Could it also mean that she will be back for a third try in 2021?

Monomoy Girl has been entered in the Fasig-Tipton November sale and it was widely believed that she would be retired after this year’s Breeders’ Cup. But on a teleconference Wednesday to announce the pre-entries for the Breeders’ Cup, Cox said the possibility of her racing next year has been raised.

“I just think [the owners] have if it in the back of their minds that if she shows up and runs extremely well in the Distaff it could be a possibility that they’d like to campaign her in 2021,” Cox said. “Given the fact that she did not race as a 4-year-old, this is basically her 4-year-old season. For a mare who is five and about to turn six, she is somewhat lightly raced. I think a lot of it will hinge on what happens Breeders’ Cup day. I think there will be a meeting at some point after the Breeders’ Cup, either that night or the next day. At some point we are going to have to get a game plan ready. A lot of it will hinge on her performance Breeders’ Cup day.”

After her outstanding 3-year-old campaign, Monomoy Girl dealt with a few setbacks last year that kept her from making a start. The ownership group, which consists of Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Group LLC, Monomoy Stables and Bethlehem Stables LLC, patiently waited for Cox to ger her ready for her return. She came back with a win in a May 16 allowance race at Churchill Downs and then won the GII Ruffian S. and the GI La Troienne S.

“As far as getting her back to the races it was a long road,” Cox said. “We had a couple of setbacks in ’19. For her to be able to compete at the Grade I level and win a Grade I was really amazing for us as a team. We feel like she is better this year than she was in 2018. It means a lot to us and our staff and the owners for her to not only make it back but to compete at the Grade I level.”

Monomoy Girl’s task in the Distaff will be made tougher if GI Preakness S. winner Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) runs in that race over the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic. The 3-year-old filly has been pre-entered in both races, with the Distaff listed as the first preference. Trainer Ken McPeek said Wednesday that he and owner Peter Callahan have yet to choose which race she will go in, but he hinted that it may be the Distaff.

“We went ahead and took advantage of the fact she can pre-enter in both races without having to pay any fees,” McPeek said. “We figured we would take a look and see what the Classic looks like. We haven’t had an opportunity to sit down and study the past performances yet. We are going to do that in the next 24, 48 hours and get some clarity on what direction we will go in.

“I do think the Distaff is the first logical choice if you don’t know who all the competitors are in the Classic. It isn’t a decision set in stone yet. This gives us the ability to look and check out the other race. I have said all along the Distaff is the likely spot. But we are not going to rule out the other race until we’ve had a chance to analyze who all is running and how the pace scenario may set up. There is still a little bit of time and we don’t have to make a firm decision until the second of November, but I assume we will probably make it over the next couple or three days.”

McPeek said there were pluses and minuses when it came to both races.

“I really like her at a mile-and-a quarter,” he said. “That would be the pro for the Classic. But I also know it is a deeper race on paper. Another pro would be that she would get a bit of weight off [Swiss Skydiver would get a three-pound weight allowance in the Classic] in that race. That’s a couple of reasons to go in that direction. Monomoy Girl will definitely be the horse to beat in the Distaff. She is certainly a top filly, so you wouldn’t think that race would be easy. We have to study it and we will come to a conclusion soon.”

The Classic looks like the more imposing spot. The race has drawn a who’s who of the top male horse in training, including Authentic (Into Mischief), Improbable (City Zip), Maximum Security (New Year’s Day), Tiz the Law (Constitution) and Tom’s d’Etat (Smart Strike).

Cox said he would be excited to see Swiss Skydiver in the Distaff.

“I think it would be fantastic for racing if they were to meet up in the Distaff,” he said. “Obviously, you are talking about our horse already being a champion and that filly is definitely on the leader board and will probably take home champion 3-year-old filly honors this year. It would be a really good match up from the standpoint of being a fan. And I am a fan of racing and I think it would be a tremendous match up and I am looking forward to the possibility.”

The rest of the pre-entered field for the Distaff consists of Ce Ce (Elusive Quality), Dunbar Road (Quality Road), Harvest Moon (Uncle Mo), Horologist (Gemologist), Lady Kate (Bernardini), Ollie’s Candy (Candy Ride {Arg}), Point of Honor (Curlin), Valiance (Tapit) and Harvey’s Lil Goil (American Pharoah), whose first preference is the GI Filly & Mare Turf.

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