LEXINGTON, KY – Trainer Brad Cox’s Monomoy Girl put in a monstrous performance en route to giving her celebrated trainer his first-ever Grade 1 score in Saturday’s $500,000 Central Bank Ashland Stakes at Keeneland.
Breaking from the rail under Florent Geroux as the prohibitive 1-5 favorite, Monomoy Girl took a 1-length command heading into the first turn and set uncontested fractions of :24.00, :47.98, and 1:12.62. Increasing her lead through the far turn, Monomoy Girl hit the top of the stretch with a 4 1/2-length lead and kicked away in stylish fashion, hitting the wire first by 5 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:43.74.
“There wasn’t really a plan (regarding going for the lead), just wanted to get a good position and let the filly be comfortable,” Geroux said. “I hustled her a little bit from post one. We had the rail and we had the right of going. We just took it to them and she was the best. She can go very fast.”
The rest of the field was just as spread out. Circling four-wide late to get second was Eskimo Kisses, with another 7 1/2 lengths back to Patrona Margarita in third. Andina Del Sur took fourth, with Ipanema Beach, C. S. Incharge, and Tyfosha completing the order of finish.
The Ashland is part of the Road to the 2018 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Monomoy Girl earned 100 points for the win, with Eskimo Kisses receiving 40 for second, Patrona Margarita 20 for third, and Andina Del Sur 10 for fourth.
Monomoy Girl’s win was her fifth win (second graded) in six career starts, with her lone loss a second in the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes two back. Owned by a parternship between Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group, and Bethlehem Stables, the daughter of Tapizar now has career earnings of $556,550.
“It’s special (winning my first Grade 1),” Cox said. “It means a lot to me that we’ve had her since her 2-year-old year. She’s really developed. We thought a lot of her last year, and she’s obviously taken it to the next level.”
Monomoy Girl returned $2.60 to win, $2.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. Eskimo Kisses brought back $3.20 to place and $2.40 to show, while Patrona Margarita paid $3.20 to show.