By Katie Petrunyak
Champion Monomoy Girl displayed many admirable traits during her four years on the racetrack, but those closest to her would be quick to say that she has never exactly been known for her easygoing nature. Independent, tenacious and self-assured would be much better adjectives to describe the GI Kentucky Oaks victress and two-time GI Breeders' Cup Distaff heroine.
“She's very sassy, that's for sure,” said Florent Geroux, who teamed up with the chestnut daughter of Tapizar for 16 of her 17 lifetime starts. “She's not really a 'people horse' who likes to hang out with people. She likes to be on her own. If you bring her some treats, she might come see you for a bit. Although if you come empty handed, it's not very good to visit her.”
Two years ago, Monomoy Girl retired to Spendthrift Farm. The operation's General Manager Ned Toffey can attest that the seven-time Grade I winner has maintained that same sure-of-herself personality.
“Ever since she came to Spendthrift, and I think during her training days as well, she has been a pretty tough mare,” he said. “She's definitely not so much of a pet as she is sort of a tough, athletic race mare. She's more settled into a routine now, but she still has her preferences. There are things she likes and things she doesn't like and you still see that fire pop up in her from time to time.”
Despite her seemingly tough nature, Monomoy Girl has revealed a softer side over the past two months. Early on the morning of Feb. 17, her first foal arrived at Spendthrift. While there is always concern for how any mare will take to a second career as a broodmare, in this case all worries were eased as soon as her Into Mischief colt took his first steps.
“She has done everything right,” said Toffey. “She's a very settled mare when she goes outside and she takes good care of her foal. Sometimes you'll run into things with race mares where you may even have to go so far as to have to put the foal on a nurse mare. That has been far from the case with Monomoy Girl.”
As for the foal, Toffey said they couldn't be happier with the new arrival.
“He's a medium-sized foal, which is really what we like to see. He's very well-made, very put together. He's got great bone and is very balanced and athletic .”
The team at Spendthrift was so enamored with this Into Mischief colt that Monomoy Girl was bred back to the farm's same supersire and she recently checked in foal.
Just as spring brings new foals to the Bluegrass each year, many of the nation's best jockeys are welcomed to Lexington every spring for the Keeneland meet. On a light day of racing, Florent Geroux stopped in to visit an old friend at Spendthrift and meet her first foal. The seasoned jockey has sat aboard countless top-class horses, but it's not every day that he gets near one of their offspring.
Geroux was blown away by how well the champion seems to have taken to retirement.
“She looks great and she has a beautiful colt,” he said after peppermints had been distributed and the mare and foal were turned out for the morning. “I think everything is going very well for her. It makes me happy to see her here and she looks amazing. Her coat is beautiful and she looks super healthy, all dappled out.”
There is no question that Geroux's top earner, Gun Runner, has gone on to do great things after the racetrack. Now he is hoping that his second-highest earning performer can share similar success.
The sky has always seemed to be the limit for Monomoy Girl, who has a knack for setting the bar throughout every step of her career.
Purchased as a yearling by Liz Crow for only $100,000 and originally campaigned by Michael Dubb and Sol Kumin's Monomoy Stables, the Brad Cox-trained filly was a stakes winner at two and her Eclipse Award-worthy sophomore season was highlighted by six graded stakes wins from seven starts, including the Kentucky Oaks and the Breeders' Cup Distaff.
While she missed her 4-year-old season due to colic and a hamstring injury, the chestnut came back the following year and claimed another Breeders' Cup Distaff-Eclipse Award double. At the end of her 5-year-old campaign, she was sent through the ring at Fasig-Tipton's Night of the Stars Sale, where she brought $9.5 million from Spendthrift Farm. MyRacehorse joined in on the partnership along with one of her original owners Sol Kumin under his Madaket Stables banner. She was a graded stakes winner again at six in the GIII Bayakoa S. before entering retirement.
Reflecting on Monomoy Girl's career, Geroux said that her Kentucky Oaks victory over fellow champions Wonder Gadot and Midnight Bisou, as well as her victorious return to the Breeders' Cup in 2020, are two of his fondest memories with the talented filly.
Monomoy Girl's intelligence, he added, is another trait he will never forget from their many rides together.
“She's extremely smart,” he said. “Probably one of the smartest horses I've been around.”
While it remains to be seen if this first foal has inherited his dam's athletic abilities, there is already no question of his paternal heritage. A flashy light bay with varying degrees of white on all four legs, the colt has a prominent blaze that is unquestionably Into Mischief.
At just two months old, the youngster has already grown to love the spotlight.
“He could not be a more personable foal,” Toffey explained. “He loves people. You try to get a picture of him and he'll come over to the fence. Everything looks like a selfie with him because he just comes up and wants to get in your face.”
Toffey said that while plans can always change, their goal is to keep the foal under his existing ownership.
“I think he's one that we're likely to keep right here in house,” he explained. “There is a lot of time between now and next year when he would potentially sell as a yearling, but there is so much stallion potential there. It's a wonderful pedigree and he looks like an athlete. If he has ability that comes anywhere close to his looks and pedigree, he'd be a horse that we could hope to one day have in our stallion barn. That's really one of our big goals here at Spendthrift. We're breeding for the stud barn and the broodmare band. Obviously first comes athleticism, but if they can do the job on the track, our goal is to get them back here and stand them at stud.”
No matter where the youngster ends up some day, 'Flo' said that he would like to put his name in the hat to be the colt's future jockey.
“I would have to talk to the owners and maybe the future trainer,” he said with a smile. “Hopefully they can arrange that for me. It would be special.”