Two-time Eclipse Award champion Monomoy Girl performed up to her resume with a straightforward comeback victory in Sunday’s $250,000 Bayakoa S. (G3) at Oaklawn Park. Stalking the pace out wide on the sloppy track, the 1-5 favorite imposed her will in the stretch and drew off by two lengths.
Monomoy Girl was the second champion to kick off 2021 in style this weekend for Brad Cox. On Saturday, stablemate Essential Quality starred in the Southwest (G3) in his sophomore bow on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Both were last seen prevailing at the Breeders’ Cup – Essential Quality conquered the Juvenile (G1) and Monomoy Girl scored her second Distaff (G1) trophy.
Unlike Essential Quality, Monomoy Girl was returning to action for new connections. Spendthrift Farm went to $9.5 million to purchase the outstanding mare at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November, and instead of retiring her, kept her in training for another campaign. The Spendthrift-affiliated My Racehorse Stable is part of the ownership group along with Madaket Stables.
Monomoy Girl expressed her pleasure with the decision to press on as a six-year-old. With regular rider Florent Geroux aboard, the daughter of Tapizar broke from the outside post 6 and continued to plow a wide path for the duration of the Bayakoa.
Finite, the 7-2 second choice, carved out fractions of :24.60 and :49.41. Our Super Freak kept close tabs until heading Finite at the six-furlong mark in 1:14.13.
Monomoy Girl, perched in third in the early going, crept closer at that point and put herself in position to attack. Nudged by Geroux, she made short work of her rivals while completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.92.
“It was a great trip,” Geroux told Oaklawn publicity. “It set up great from the start with the outside post and short field. I let the horse in front of me do the dirty work and I just tucked in behind, on the outside, which was the smart thing today with the track condition. When I asked her turning for home, she gave me what she has all the time. She always delivers, so it’s easy to appreciate a champion. I’m the luckiest jockey in the world right now.”
“It’s kind of a relief to get it over with,” Cox said. “I was proud of her. She ran big. I think just given the post and the way they broke and laid going into the first turn, it set up well for her. She always kind of gets that little bit of a wide trip. Nothing really out of the ordinary.”
The 15-1 Our Super Freak was best of the rest, and Finite wound up third. The other three – Chance to Shine, Istan Council, and Another Broad – didn’t get involved.
It was fitting for Monomoy Girl to capture the Bayakoa, since the race honoree was herself a two-time Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner (1989-90) during her Hall of Fame career.
Monomoy Girl appears bound for an induction at Saratoga Springs in time as well, with a career mark of 16-14-2-0 and $4,576,818 in earnings. Even more remarkably is how she’s compiled that record. The champion three-year-old filly of 2018, she missed all of 2019 with various issues, and resurfaced to earn another Eclipse Award as champion older dirt female in 2020. Monomoy Girl won all four starts of her comeback year, and the Bayakoa extended her streak to six.
“It means a lot,” Cox added of her comeback score. “I’m very proud of what she accomplished today. Very, very pleased with what she was able to accomplish, and bringing her to Hot Springs means a lot. It’s a great racing town. The Saratoga of the South, I guess you could call it. There were a lot of fans here and I think they appreciate our team bringing her here.”
Monomoy Girl is expected to target Oaklawn’s signature race for older distaffers, the $1 million Apple Blossom H. (G1), on April 17.
Dixie Belle Stakes
Earlier on the card, Fox Hill Farms’ Windmill stayed perfect in her stakes debut in the Dixie Belle S. for sophomore fillies.
A four-length maiden winner in her unveiling over the same track and six-furlong distance Jan. 23, the Larry Jones trainee capitalized on an outside trip. Jockey Joe Talamo had the 2-1 second choice well placed attending the pace scrum.
Goin’ Good, who broke slowly on the rail, rushed up to head 1.70-1 favorite Abrogate through splits of :22.72 and :46.22. Abrogate, bidding to extend her record to 3-for-3, put her head in front on the far turn, but Goin’ Good fought back into the stretch.
Windmill, prominent throughout while flanking them, kept on strongest of all down the lane. Splashing past the gutsy Goin’ Good, Windmill crossed the wire a length clear in 1:11.14. Abrogate reported home another length back in third.
Now brandishing a bankroll of $139,200, Windmill is by Street Sense and out of the Grand Slam mare Zaharias, who is a full sister to Grade 1 hero Visionaire. Zaharias is also a half to Grade 1 vixen Tara’s Tango as well as Grade 3 scorers Scarlet Strike and Madison’s Luna.