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LOUISVILLE, KY – Trainer Brad Cox’s Monomoy Girl proved once again her superiority in the distaff division while crushing Friday’s $500,000 La Troienne Stakes Presented by Oak Grove Racing & Gaming (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Monomoy Girl was a tad slow into stride as she broke from the far outside post 8 under Florent Geroux as the 2/5 heavy favorite. Things got worse as she was forced to run four-wide into the clubhouse turn, but Geroux didn’t panic and instead let her settle.
Up front, Lady Kate set a measured space, posting opening fractions of :23.43, :46.26, and 1:10.48 as Risky Mandate gave closest chase. Geroux peeked underneath his arm to make sure he was the only one closing in the far turn, then allowed Monomoy Girl to sidle up three-wide.
Straightening for home on the lead, Monomoy Girl remained vigorously hand-ridden through to the wire, crossing 1 3/4 lengths ahead in a winning time of 1:42.14 for the 1 1/16-mile fast dirt route.
“There was no doubt,” Geroux said. “There was a little bit of congestion going into the first turn, but I had a nice outside post. I was never worried. I was on the best horse and we had a great trip. I just had to push the button when she was ready.”
Lady Kate held onto second in the stretch, finishing 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Horologist.
Saracosa, Vexatious, defending champion She’s a Julie, With Dignity, and Risky Mandate completed the order of finish.
Monomoy Girl’s win was her third from as many 2020 starts and improved her overall record to 14-12-2-0 with $3,386,818 earned for co-owners Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group, and Bethlehem Stables. The 5-year-old Tapizar mare missed the entire 2019 racing season but looks poised to challenge for her second Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) score, having won it previously in 2018.
“She’s the only horse I get nervous running,” Cox said. “Once I leg up Florent, it’s 10 minutes of anxiety. He did have to work on her a little bit to clear off from Lady Kate. She’s a true champion and is able to overcome a four-wide trip into the first turn. She’s the horse of a lifetime. The way she’s trained since the spring, since April, is when she took off.”
Monomoy Girl returned $2.80 to win, $2.20 to place, and $2.10 to show. Lady Kate brought back $7.60 to place and $4.20 to show, while Horologist paid $3.40 to show.
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