Monomoy Girl prevailed in the 144th running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) on Friday at Churchill Downs, both over a stubborn Wonder Gadot in the stretch and that filly’s jockey, John Velazquez, when he lodged an objection after the finish.
Take Charge Paula led the way down the backstretch with Monomoy Girl to her outside and Sassy Sienna tracking on the inside. The pacesetter set splits of :23.48 and :47.70 but couldn’t sustain her pace and dropped back entering the final turn.
Monomoy Girl seized the lead and refused to yield as Wonder Gadot suddenly appeared to her outside. Those two duked it out in the lane, with Monomoy Girl coming over from jockey Florent Geroux’s left-handed encouragement. There was slight contact between the two, but Monomoy Girl slowly pulled away to be clear on the wire in a final time of 1:49.13 for 1 1/8 miles over the fast main track.
Velazquez lodged an objection for the stretch run soon after, and everyone held their collective breaths as the stewards reviewed the race. Finally the decision came down – no change – leaving Monomoy Girl the winner of the 2018 Kentucky Oaks for trainer Brad Cox.
Sent off the 5-2 second choice in the 14-strong field, Monomoy Girl paid $7.20 for the half-length win.
Wonder Gadot proved best-of-the-rest by 3 3/4 lengths, with 2-1 favorite Midnight Bisou taking third by a half-length over Eskimo Kisses. Chocolate Martini filled out the top five under the wire 5 1/2 lengths farther back.
Sassy Sienna came next by 1 1/2 lengths and was followed under the wire by Coach Rocks, Kelly’s Humor, Heavenhasmynikki, Classy Act, My Miss Lilly, Patrona Margarita, Rayya and Take Charge Paula.
Monomoy Girl improved her record to read 7-6-1-0 and doubled her lifetime earnings to $1,120,720. Her only loss to date came as a neck second in the Golden Rod Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs last November in her juvenile finale. The Tapizar filly broke her maiden on the Indiana Grand turf and took an allowance/optional claimer over the Churchill Downs’ green before scoring her dirt and stakes debut in the Rags to Riches Stakes prior to the Golden Rod.
Campaigned by Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables LLC, the Elkstone Group LLC and Bethlehem Stables LLC, Monomoy Girl opened her sophomore season with a 2 1/2-length victory in the February 17 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds, was given a slight break, then returned April 7 to wire the Ashland Stakes (G1) by 5 1/2 lengths at Keeneland.
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 half-sister to Grade 3 victor Drum Major.
Monomoy Girl’s fifth dam is Lady Dulcinea, a half-sister to a slew of black-type winning and producing mares including the dam of 1991 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) hero Opening Verse. This lucrative female line also boasts 1980 champion two-year-old filly Heavenly Cause and multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Bounding Basque.