May 19, 2019

Monomoy Girl zips five furlongs in Oaks work at Churchill

Monomoy Girl is nearly set to give Louisville local Brad Cox a major run in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) (Coady Photography)

Ashland (G1) winner Monomoy Girl recorded a half-mile work in company at Churchill Downs Saturday for the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (G1)

With jockey Florent Geroux up, Monomoy Girl was timed in :47.40. She breezed outside of workmate Compass Zone through splits of :12.40, :24.20, and :36 before galloping out five furlongs in :59.80.

“She’s been training very forward since coming to Churchill Downs,” trainer Brad Cox said. “She’s been keen in the mornings, so we think she’s definitely ready.”

Beaumont (G3) runner-up Kelly’s Humor, currently No. 17 on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard for Cox, breezed four furlongs in :48.60 through splits of :12.60, and :24.40 before galloping out five-eighths of a mile in 1:01.60.

Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) winner Coach Rocks breezed five furlongs in :59. With former jockey Tammy Fox up, Coach Rocks worked through eighth-mile fractions of :11.60, :22,80, :34.80 and :46.60 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:11.80 and three-quarters of a mile in 1:25.40.

“Look at Tammy’s face, you can tell how much she loved the work,” trainer Dale Romans joked. “(Coach Rocks) is really improving and training well here at Churchill Downs.”

Sunland Park Oaks winner Blamed worked five furlongs in 1:01.40. With jockey Ken Tohill in the saddle, Blamed worked through splits of :13, :25.40 and :37.20 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.40.

Rachel Alexandra (G2) runner-up Classy Act recorded a five-furlong move in :59. With jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. in the saddle, Classy Act worked through splits of :12.20, :24, :35.40 and :47.20 prior to galloping out six furlongs in 1:11.60 and seven furlongs in 1:25.40.

“I thought it was a great work,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “She went to the pole a little aggressive and obviously we are trying to slow her down a little bit, but Brian checked her a couple of times and she settled pretty well. She worked great and finished up well.”

Classy Act was the heavy favorite in the March 24 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) but tired late in the stretch to finish fourth.

“It was way too aggressive and fast early in the Fair Grounds Oaks,” Calhoun said. “She used to be a filly that loved to sit off the pace and actually needed a target to even work in the mornings. She’s changed and became a little more aggressive so we’re trying to get her to revert back to her old ways.”

Eskimo Kisses, runner-up in the Ashland and Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), breezed five furlongs in 1:01.80 at Keeneland.

“That was perfect: a nice, happy breeze and she galloped out good,” trainer Kenny McPeek said. “She doesn’t need much except a little maintenance breeze, something to keep her legs stretched. She is very easy and basic to train.”

McPeek said Eskimo Kisses will breeze again at Keeneland on April 28 before shipping to Churchill Downs.

At Santa Anita, UAE Oaks (G3) winner Rayya worked six furlongs from the gate in 1:12.80 for trainer Bob Baffert in advance of the Oaks. She was a distant third to second behind Mendelssohn in the UAE Derby (G2) last time.