By Bill Finley
Eclipse Award winner Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) will run next in the GII Ruffian S. on July 11 at Belmont Park, reports trainer Brad Cox.
The champion 3-year-old filly of 2018, Monomoy Girl was sidelined for nearly a year and a half before making a successful return to the races with a May 16 allowance win at Churchill Downs. Like the Ruffian, her comeback race was a one-turn mile event.
“She’s really training well and we feel like the one-turn mile at Belmont will really suit her well right now and it gives us plenty of time between races,” Cox said. “The race just make sense. She’s coming off a very long layoff, and we have to keep that in mind. She was off a year and a half. It’s not like this is her second race back after a three-month layoff.”
Monomoy Girl is bypassing this Saturday’s GII Fleur de Lis H., a stakes for older fillies and mares on her home turf at Churchill Downs that will feature Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute). Cox said that while he was not eager to face Midnight Bisou at this juncture in the season, the main reason for choosing the Ruffian over the nine-furlong Fleur de Lis was the distance of the Churchill race.
“Right now, after such a long layoff, a mile and an eighth is not what I am looking for,” Cox said.
If it happens, the rematch between Monomoy Girl and Midnight Bisou will be one of the most anticipated races of the year.
The two have not met since the 2018 GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff, which was won by Monomoy Girl with Midnight Bisou finishing third. The two faced each other four times in 2018 and Monomoy Girl crossed the wire first each time. However, Midnight Bisou was placed first, and ahead of Monomoy Girl, in the GI Cotillion S. due to interference. With Monomoy Girl out all of 2019, Midnight Bisou put together a championship season in which she went seven for eight.
“Our horse is unbelievable, she’s a great mare,” Cox said. “I’m looking forward to the match up with Midnight Bisou. They are two champions and it would be great for racing for them to meet. It would be a tremendous boost for the sport.”
Cox said the only other race that is definitely on Monomoy Girl’s schedule this year is the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.