LOUISVILLE, KY – The 2018 Eclipse Award Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Monomoy Girl – absent over 18 months – cruised to a lengthy victory while making her long-awaited return Saturday in a mile-long allowance/optional claiming event at Churchill Downs.

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Sent from post 2 under regular rider Florent Geroux as the 1/2 top choice, Monomoy Girl raced in mid-pack early and had to steady slightly when Fashion Faux Pas squeezed her out while settting the pace. Geroux kept her comfortable in a close stalking position while chasing opening fractions of :22.87 and :46.33.

Monomoy Girl found herself sandwiched between rivals and behind both Fashion Faux Pas and Talk Veuve to Me heading into the far turn, but midway through, the former champ had seen enough. Creating a clear path for herself to run three-wide after the pacesetters, Monomoy Girl effortlessly moved up to take the lead by the time the field hit the 1/4 pole.

Straightening for home with a growing advantage, Monomoy Girl only needed to be shown the stick in order to remember to keep running. She ended her 2020 debut the same way that she finished her last race – crossing first under the Twin Spires.

The 2018 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) victor completed Saturday’s mile in 1:36.51 over a sloppy (sealed) surface.

Credit: Coady Photography

“She was able to rate a lot easier today than when she was 3 years old,” Geroux said. “She gave us all the signs in the morning that she was ready. I think it is on to bigger things.”

The Italian-bred Red Dane was an equal 2 3/4 lengths between the winner and Miss Bigly in third. Further back came Estilo Femenino, Talk Veuve to Me, Fashion Faux Pas, and Lady Kate to complete the order of finish.

Monomoy Girl’s win improved her record to 12-10-2-0 with $3,003,618 earned for co-owners Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, The Elkstone Group, and Bethlehem Stables. The 5-year-old Tapizar mare missed the entire 2019 season due to various setbacks, including a pulled hamstring last fall, but she appears to be fully fit and healthy for a big summer and fall campaign.

“I was starting to doubt her return at that point (when she pulled her hamstring),” Cox said. “I remember when it happened when she just wasn’t right after a work in September. I thought that was going to be the end of her career on the racetrack and she’d become a mom, but these guys that own her are game and it’s good for the sport to see her return to the races.”

Monomoy Girl returned $3 to win, $3 to place, and $2.20 to show. Red Dane brought back $14.40 to place and $6.40 to show, while Miss Bigly paid $3 to show.