November 30, 2023

Monomoy Girl looks to stay perfect against 11 rivals in Golden Rod

Monomoy Girl romps in the Rags to Riches Stakes with jockey Florent Geroux aboard at Churchill Downs on Sunday, October 29, 2017 (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

Four trainers will saddle nine of the 12 juvenile fillies in Saturday’s $200,000 Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs. Trainer Brad Cox has two of them, including the likely favorite Monomoy Girl in the 1 1/16-mile test which offers eligibility points toward next spring’s Kentucky Oaks (G1).

Monomoy Girl enters the Golden Rod a perfect three-for-three, with a pair of wins on the turf to start her career and a blowout 6 1/2-length tally in the $82,000 Rags to Riches four weeks ago around Churchill’s one-turn mile. Although she led gate to wire in each of her last two outings, the daughter of Tapizar was versatile enough to score from off the pace in her debut at Indiana Grand.

Cox also sends out Kelly’s Humor, one of only two others with a stakes win. The $75,000 Ellis Park Debutante heroine was subsequently second in the Pocahontas (G2), but was never really in contention after a bump at the start of the Alcibiades (G1).

Trainer Rusty Arnold has three fillies in the mix. Foxtrot Sally was eight lengths third to Monomoy Girl in the Rags to Riches, while Cash Out rallied for third in the Jessamine (G3) at Keeneland to Rushing Fall, eventual winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). The least experienced of the trio is Ipanema Beach, second in her Keeneland debut October 27.

Sultry is three-for-five with a Keeneland allowance win and an off-the-pace score in the $100,000 Spendthrift Juvenile Fillies in her last two. Her Eddie Kenneally-trained stablemate, Dessert Honeys, graduated by six lengths on November 1 after back-to-back, photo-finish losses in a pair of Florida Sires S. races at Gulfstream.

In addition to the Kenny McPeek pair of Stronger Than Ever, who’s two-for-two, and Deadline, a maiden winner on turf last time, the Golden Rod field also includes Road to Victory and Undivided, both of whom won at first asking on the grass at Woodbine and Indiana Grand, respectively.

Oaks qualifying points of 10-4-2-1 will go to the first four finishers of the Golden Rod, one of the highlights of the “Stars of Tomorrow II” card that marks the penultimate day of racing for the Churchill fall meet.