Showing a completely different running style, Monomoy Girl rallied from last to capture Saturday’s $196,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds under jockey Florent Geroux.
The chestnut lass was making her sophomore bow in this spot, having last been seen suffering her first career loss when a neck second in the November 25 Golden Rod Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs. In that 1 1/16-mile contest, as well as her two prior, the Brad Cox trainee led the way.
Monomoy Girl was nowhere near the front in the Rachel Alexandra. Breaking from the far outside post 7, the chestnut miss hit the gate and settled in last as Classy Act took command through early splits of :23.58 and :46.83. Testing One Two kept in close attendance to the pacesetter as 2-1 second choice Wonder Gadot tracked in third.
Monomoy Girl bided her time in the rear until reaching the far turn, when she picked up the pace under her own power while four wide. Taking over in upper stretch, the Kentucky-bred lass abruptly shied out when shown the left-handed whip by Geroux, who calmly corrected his mount’s trajectory and set her on a straight course to be 2 1/2 lengths clear under the wire.
Sent off the 4-5 favorite, Monomoy Girl finished 1 1/16 miles over the fast track in 1:43.26 and paid $3.80 for this win, which awarded her 50 points toward a starting berth in the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (G1).
The Rachel Alexandra kicked off the Championship portion of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races, and was worth 50-20-10-5 to the respective top four finishers.
Classy Act made her stakes bow in this spot and took second by 1 1/4 lengths over Wonder Gadot. It was another 3 1/2 lengths back to 24-1 longshot Patrona Margarita, who had 1 3/4 lengths to spare on fifth-placer Testing One Two. She’s a Julie and Heavenly Love completed the order of finish.
Campaigned by M. Dubb, Monomoy Stables LLC, the Elkstone Group LLC and Bethlehem Stables LLC’s Monomoy Girl improved her scorecard to read 5-4-1-0 with this win and nearly doubled her lifetime earnings to $256,550. She also boosted her Kentucky Oaks points total to 54, giving her command of the Oaks Leaderboard.
The Tapizar filly broke her maiden at first asking over Indiana Grand’s turf, then shipped to Churchill and captured an allowance/optional claimer over that track’s grass three weeks later. The chestnut lass made her dirt and stakes debut in the Rags to Riches Stakes under the Twin Spires on October 29, and wired that one-mile affair by 6 1/2 lengths. She nearly did the same in the Golden Rod a month later, but was nipped by a neck on the wire.
Bred in Kentucky by FPF LLC and Highfield Ranch, Monomoy Girl is the first registered stakes winner out of the Henny Hughes mare Drumette, who is a half-sister to Grade 3 hero Drum Major. This is the same female family as 1991 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) conqueror and successful sire Opening Verse as well as 1980 champion two-year-old filly Heavenly Cause.
RACHEL ALEXANDRA QUOTES
Brad Cox, trainer Monomoy Girl, winner
“I wasn’t thinking good thoughts (about the start). I was shocked she got away like that, although she had gate trouble earlier before she ever run. That’s why decided to run her long first time on the turf. Her last three works here at the Fair Grounds have been phenomenal. I was a little worried that some of the other fillies had a race on her over the last month. She showed us a lot. Overcoming things, dirt in her face, passing horses, stuff like that. She’s becoming a big girl.”
Florent Geroux, jockey Monomoy Girl, winner
“(I felt good) at the three-eighths pole, when I went by Wonder Gadot. I was fully loaded and the horse on the lead was coming back to me fairly easily. She goofs around a little bit at the end, she’s pretty much done that in all of her starts, I don’t think she’s a big fan of the whip, if she keeps on running and winning, I don’t need to use it. I think there are a couple things we can work with (trainer) Brad (Cox) and his team and I think she can overcome that. The main thing is we know she can run fast. She spooks around a little bit, sometimes the whip or a little mark on the ground. She’s very aware of what’s going on in front of her.”
Bret Calhoun, trainer Classy Act (2nd) and Patrona Margarita (4th)
“One thing that cost Classy Act a little bit is she broke a little tardy and she usually breaks sharp. The main thing you want to do is just don’t touch her, don’t smooch at her, or take a big hold. Because she did break tardy, (jockey Javier Castellano) had to kind of shove on her a little bit and when he did she jumped into the bridle a little harder than he wanted. She got a little too keen. If she breaks like she’s supposed to, he probably never has to touch her and she’s probably a little more relaxed. I was happy with it, I wish she would’ve broke a little sharper. I think that would’ve helped us a little bit but I don’t know it would’ve changed the outcome.”
Coming back for the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) on March 24?
“I think so. If she looks good after this and bounces back good, I think we will come back.”
“I thought I had (Patrona Magarita) really ready and really fit, but to come off the bench in these kind of races is very difficult. She looked like she was going to be third and flattened out, she just got a little tired. I was happy her race overall too.”
Mark Casse, trainer Wonder Gadot, third
“It’s tough. (Jockey) Johnny (Velazquez) thought maybe he wished he went on with her a little bit but we did that last time and it didn’t work. The winner did everything wrong and was impressive. We’ll see what happens. She’s a Canadian-bred. She’s got a lot of options.”