ELMONT, NY – Trainer Brad Cox’s Monomoy Girl cashed a big check for what was essentially a vigorous workout against four others in Saturday’s $150,000 Ruffian Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park.
Sent from the far outside post 5 under Florent Geroux as the deserving 1/9 favorite, Monomoy Girl raced within a 1/2-length of early leader Mother Mother, who posted opening fractions of :22.84 and :45.55.
Midway through the far turn, Monomoy Girl sidled up to meet the pacesetter’s throat latch and soon straightened for home with a clear lead.
Vexatious put forth a valiant effort to keep pace and briefly forced Geroux to keep Monomoy Girl engaged, but there was no catching the bettors’ choice.
Monomoy Girl strolled across the line 2 lengths much the best in a final time of 1:34.13 for the mile-long race over a good main track.
“This was a nice race for her to come back into stakes competition and now we can tackle some bigger races and a tougher field, too,” Geroux said. “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. Now with this race under her belt, we can tackle some of the two-turn mile and 1/8-type of races with her.”
Vexatious was well ahead of Piedi Bianchi, while behind them came a weakened Mother Mother and a never-threatening Always Shopping to complete the order of finish.
Monomoy Girl’s win was her third straight, beginning with the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) and continuing in an optional claiming event at Churchill Downs this past May. The 5-year-old Tapizar mare improved her record to 13-11-2-0 with $3,086,118 earned for co-owners Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group, and Bethlehem Stables.
“She’s a very special filly,” said Cox’s assistant Dustin Dugas. “She showed up and ran well. She did everything we asked of her. She had a good week here. She visited all three of the tracks since she arrived here last Wednesday. She breezed over the main, had a jog day over the pony track, and spent the rest of the time on the training track. She handled everything really well and really adapted to the change of scenery and I think she really liked it.”
Monomoy Girl returned $2.30 to win and $2.10 to place, while Vexatious paid $4.30 to place. There was no show betting.