Champion mare Monomoy Girl had a not-too-taxing return to stakes action on Saturday when triumphing by two lengths in the $145,500 Ruffian Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park. while Dunbar Road had little to sweat about in the $400,000 Delaware H. (G2) at Delaware Park later in the day.
Under Florent Geroux, Monomoy Girl rated in second, took over from pace setter Mother Mother approaching the quarter pole, repelled a minor bid from Vexatious in upper stretch and won with plenty in reserve, covering a mile in 1:34.13 over a good track.
The overwhelming favorite against four overmatched rivals, Monomoy Girl paid $2.30 for her first stakes win since the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). Following Vexatious under the wire were Piedi Bianchi, Mother Mother, and Always Shopping.
The champion 3-year-old filly of 2018 when she captured the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), Acorn (G1), Kentucky Oaks (G1), Ashland (G1), and Rachel Alexandra (G2) in addition to the Breeders’ Cup, the Brad Cox-trainee returned to action on May 18 after missing all of her 4-year-old campaign due to various infirmities. The Tapizar mare registered a 2 3/4-length in a one-mile allowance at Churchill Downs in the slop that day.
“She’s a bit more relaxed now that she’s older and a little bit more composed before the race, after the race and during the race,” Geroux said. “Now with this race under her belt, we can tackle some of the two-turn, mile-and-an-eighth type of races with her.”
Monomoy Girl now has 11 wins from 13 lifetime starts, her only setbacks being a neck loss in the 2017 Golden Rod (G2) and a demotion from first to second in the 2018 Cotillion (G1).
Owned by Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group, and Bethlehem Stables, Monomoy Girl was bred in Kentucky by FPF LLC and Highfield Ranch. An earner of more than $3 million, she was produced by Drumette, by Henny Hughes, and is the older half-sister to 2020 Risen Star (G2) division winner Mr. Monomoy.
The Delaware H. was reduced in distance from its traditional 1 1/4 miles to 1 1/8 miles this year, but Dunbar Road would likely have won regardless as the 4-year-old was geared down late by jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. to score an emphatic victory in a time of 1:49.02 over a fast track.
Saving ground in third until midway around the far turn, Dunbar Road was eased out into the three path from there, seized control turning for home and crossed the wire three lengths ahead of Saracosa. Bellera, Over Thinking, Wicked Awesome, and Lucky Move completed the order of finish.
Owned by Peter Brant and trained by Chad Brown, Dunbar Road paid $2.40.
Winner last season of the Mother Goose (G2) and Alabama (G1), Dunbar Road also placed in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) and Spinster (G1). She completed her sophomore campaign with a fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Dunbar Road opened her 2020 account on May 23 with a 1 3/4-length tally in the Shawnee S. at Churchill Downs.
Just shy of $1 million in career earnings after this score, the Quality Road filly was produced by Gift List, a daughter of Bernardini.