Unraced since a smashing victory in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), Monomoy Girl delighted fans with an impressive comeback win on Saturday’s opening day program at Churchill Downs. The champion mare had to negotiate traffic while making her first start on an off track, offering a bold move leaving the far turn to seize control, and rolled home to a comfortable 2 3/4-length decision in the one-mile allowance.
“I felt very confident when she came off the turn in front,” trainer Brad Cox said. “It was a great race off the layoff. It was very positive seeing her be able to rate behind horses like that.”
Monomoy Girl finished first in all seven starts as a 3-year-old, her only setback coming via disqualification, and counted the Kentucky Oaks (G1), Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), Acorn (G1), and Ashland (G1) among prominent wins.
She is campaigned by Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group, and Bethlehem Stables. The chestnut 5-year-old mare was close to returning last fall before being sidelined with a minor hamstring pull.
She showed little signs of rust off the 560-day vacation, improving her overall record to 12-10-2-0 and pushing her career earnings past $3 million ($3,003,618).
“I remember when it happened when she just wasn’t right after a work in September,” Cox said. “I thought that was going to be the end of her career on the racetrack and she’d become a mom but these guys that own her are game and it’s good for the sport to see her return to the races.”
Regular rider Florent Geroux noticed a positive change in Monomoy Girl.
“She was able to rate a lot easier today than when she was 3-years-old,” Geroux said. “She gave us all the signs in the morning that she was ready. I think it is on to bigger things.”
Geroux deftly guided Monomoy Girl away from the inside part of the track after the break, and she settled a couple of lengths back in fourth through opening splits in :22.87 and :46.33. Monomoy Girl bulled her way between rivals toward the outside on the far turn before entering the stretch full of run.
Favored at 1-2 in the seven-horse field, Monomoy Girl completed the one-turn mile in 1:36.51 over the sloppy track.
Red Dane rallied to finish second at 32-1, with Miss Bigly, Estilo Femenino, Talk Veuve to Me, Fashion Faux Pas, and Lady Kate coming next under the wire.
Monomoy Girl will point towards the $200,000 Fleur de Lis (G2), a “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), on the June 27 closing day program at Churchill Downs.