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Churchill Downs Preview: Monomoy Girl Highlights Massive Opening Day Card
Monomoy Girl winning the 2018 Breeders' Cup Distaff (Credit: Coady Photography)

Churchill Downs Preview: Monomoy Girl Highlights Massive Opening Day Card

LOUISVILLE, KY – A massive 11-race card announces the resumption of live racing under the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs, which includes the return of the 2018 Eclipse Award Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Monomoy Girl.

Think horsemen are anxious to return to Churchill Downs? Track officials received a whopping 162 entries from several of the nation’s top trainers, including Monomoy Girl’s conditioner Brad Cox and Hall of Famers Steve Asmussen, Bob Baffert, and Jerry Hollendorfer.

“It’s so special to have a champion return to the races when we were faced with much uncertainty with her time on the sidelines,” Cox said. “She’s matured and seems ready to run again. It’s exciting for all of the owners involved with her because they’ve been patient waiting for her return.”

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Race 1

What a way to kick off Opening Day! Of the 16 maiden males 3 and up who entered, 12 will cover 6 furlongs on the main track while running for a $30k tag. The 2/1 favorite, #12 Baudette Blizzard, hit the board in 5 of 8 starts between last July and January but is unraced since that span.

Race 2

Nine fillies and mares 4 and up entered for a $25k tag will be the first to cover two turns on the main track in 2020. Perry Ouzts returns to the saddle for three mounts on Saturday, including #1 Tempestuous Amy (20/1). The 65-year-old is ranked seventh in wins all-time among North American jockeys and will ride for the first time since suffering a torn rotator cuff last July when he jumped off of a bridle-less horse.

Race 3

Another 16-horse field will sprint 6 furlongs on the main track, this time with males 3 and up who have never won twice running for a $10k tag. The 5/2 favorite is #3 Louie’s Kingdom, whom trainer Larry Rivelli reclaimed two back for $30k after losing him for $35k one race prior.

Read Ricky’s Rockets ? for a free preview of Saturday’s Early Pick 5!

Race 4

The day’s smallest field has just seven fillies and mares 4 and up going a one-turn mile on the main track, but the relatively small number of entries is likely due to the imposing presence of #2 Monomoy Girl. The Brad Cox trainee is 4/5 on the morning line for her first start since winning the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) over this same course and has been working very strongly all spring at nearby Keeneland.

Race 5

The meet’s first maiden special weight will also be its first on turf – so long as the weather cooperates. The race also attracted 18 males 3 and up, the most on the entire card, but only 12 will run. #11 Implication was a neck away from graduating at first asking over the Tampa Bay Downs turf and was made the 3/1 morning line favorite for his second start.

Race 6

The card’s third 6-furlong main track sprint is also its third with 16 entries, this time featuring males 4 and up who started for a claiming price of $5k or less in 2019/2020. #5 Irritator, the 3/1 morning line favorite, won a turf sprint but failed to hit the board in a pair of 6-furlong main track events since trainer Tom Amoss claimed him out of a 6-furlong sloppy race at Fair Grounds in January.

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Race 7

The card’s second maiden special weight is a 6-furlong main track sprint that attracted 16 fillies ages 3 and 4 and commences the Late Pick 5. The 5/2 favorite #5 Say Moi returns after finishing second on debut while going this same distance over the Gulfstream Park dirt on March 29.

Race 8

The Late Pick 4 kicks off with the day’s second of three turf races, a mile-long turf allowance for non-winners of one other than maiden, claiming, or starter that attracted 17 entries. Tepid morning line favoritism is on #7 Limnery (4/1), who reunites with Florent Geroux for the first time since he piloted her to her maiden-breaking effort on February 24, 2019.

Race 9

A deep field of 16 males 3 and up who have never won twice are entered to run for a $50k tag while covering 7 furlongs on the main track. Dale Romans, Churchill Downs’ winningest trainer, conditions the 5/1 favorite #12 Admire, who graduated on November 24, 2018, in a local 1 1/8-mile off-turf maiden special weight.

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Race 10

For this 16-strong allowance/optional claiming field of sophomore fillies going 7 furlongs on the main track, 4/1 favoritism was split between two rivals. #2 Portrait broke her maiden by over 12 lengths while going this distance at Ellis Park last August and finished third in the local Pocahontas Stakes (G2) one race later. #5 Miss T Too broke her maiden in her second and most recent start while going a mile at Gulfstream Park and defeating a pair of next-out winners.

Race 11

The day’s final race is its third on the card, though this 5 1/2-furlong is the only event going one turn. The 15-horse field is a straight allowance comprised of 3-year-old fillies. #10 Fly So Pretty is the 7/2 morning line favorite after she won her most recent start, the Stewart Manor Stakes, a 6-furlong turf sprint at Aqueduct.

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