Churchill Downs will get back into the live racing business on Saturday with a tremendous 11-race program, highlighted by the return to action of 2018 champion 3-year-old filly Monomoy Girl in a one-mile allowance.
The 2020 spring meet, the start of which was delayed three weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be run without on-track patrons and with strict protocols in place for the safety and health of horsemen. Racing will be held on a Thursday-to-Sunday basis through June 27, with a special Memorial Day on Monday, May 25. First post is 1 p.m. ET.
Overflow fields are the norm on Saturday’s opener, one exception being Monomoy Girl’s return appearance in a conditioned allowance that goes as Race 4. The Tapizar mare has been out of action since winning the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Churchill in November 2018.
“It’s been a long time coming but we are thrilled for (Monomoy Girl) to return to the races,” trainer Brad Cox said. “She’s been working great down at Keeneland since late March and we’re looking forward to this first step back.”
Monomoy Girl crossed the wire first in all seven appearances as a 3-year-old, though she was disqualified and placed second behind Midnight Bisou in the Cotillion (G1) in her penultimate start. Her other stakes wins that term included the Kentucky Oaks (G1), Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), Acorn (G1), Ashland (G1), and Rachel Alexandra (G2).
Among Monomoy Girl’s’ six rivals in the $85,000 race are Talk Veuve to Me, who won the 2018 Indiana Oaks (G3) after running second to Monomoy Girl in the Acorn, and the stakes-placed Lady Kate, a multiple allowance winner at Gulfstream over the winter.
Other highlights on Saturday include an open allowance for 3-year-old fillies going 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf, featuring stakes winners Karak and Fly So Pretty. That nightcap is preceded by a first-level allowance for 3-year-old fillies over 7 furlongs on the main track. That field includes Pocahontas (G2) third Portrait, the stakes-placed Mo City, and Aurelia Garland, a five-length debut at Belmont Park in early May 2019.
You can watch and wager on Churchill races throughout the meet at TwinSpires.com.