October 20, 2020

Monomoy Girl heads La Troienne; By My Standards meets McKinzie in Alysheba

Monomoy Girl
Monomoy Girl returned from a lengthy layoff with a sharp allowance score at Churchill Downs (Coady Photography)

Two years after starring in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) herself, Monomoy Girl is one of the marquee names on Friday’s Oaks undercard at Churchill Downs as she heads a field of eight in the $500,000 La Troienne Stakes (G1) over 1 1/16 miles.

A prep for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), a race she won at Churchill to complete her 3-year-old filly championship season, the La Troienne marks the first two-turn appearance for Monomoy Girl this year. Out for all of 2019 due to lingering infirmities, the Tapizar mare has won twice over a one-turn mile this season, including a two-length score over Vexatious in the July 11 Ruffian (G2) at Belmont Park.

That rival is back to oppose after pulling off a 9-1 upset of reigning champion older mare Midnight Bisou in the Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga, and these two figure to dominate the proceedings. The field also includes 2019 La Troienne heroine She’s a Julie, who upset the Ogden Phipps (G1) two back but was a sub-par seventh last out in the Molly Pitcher (G3) behind Monmouth Park specialist Horologist.

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By My Standards Oaklawn Handicap
By My Standards wins the 2020 Oaklawn Handicap (Coady Photography)

Second to Tom’s d’Etat in the Stephen Foster (G2) and to Improbable in the Whitney (G1) in his last two outings, By My Standards looks to get back on the winning track in the $400,000 Alysheba Stakes (G2), also over 1 1/16 miles. Despite the recent losses, By My Standards still ranks as one of the leading older horses in the country due to early-season victories in the New Orleans Classic (G2) and Oaklawn H. (G2).

Multiple Grade 1 veteran McKinzie, a dynamite 4 3/4-length winner of the Alysheba last year over Tom’s d’Etat, looks to resurrect better form after a poor showing in the $20 million Saudi Cup to start the year and a fifth-place effort in the Metropolitan H. (G1) last time. In between, the Street Sense horse proved the class of the Triple Bend (G2) at Santa Anita, winning the 7-furlong dash by 1 1/2 lengths as the odds-on choice.

Multiple graded stakes winner Owendale won the Blame S. in late May but was a dull fifth in the Stephen Foster when last seen. Also not seen since the Foster, in which he ran third, was the hard-knocking multiple Grade 3 winner Silver Dust. Mr Freeze owns a 2-for-3 mark at Churchill, though the horse has evolved into more of a one-turn specialist. However, he’s not without a chance of earning a significant share at this trip.

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The marathon 13-race card on Friday closes out with the $250,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2) over 5 1/2 furlongs. The globetrotting Bound for Nowhere is the likely choice following some frustratingly close losses this season in the San Simeon (G3) and Shakertown (G2) for Wesley Ward.

Extravagant Kid and Wellabled are both proven commodities over the Matt Winn course, while the capable dirt performer Diamond Oops looks to break through on turf in his fourth attempt over the surface. Other speed elements with a chance for a share or more include Just Might, Carotari, Tiger Blood, and Chief Cicatriz.