SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Trainer Brad Cox’s Monomoy Girl took another step towards cementing herself as the 3-year-old fillies division leader after a dominant wire-to-wire performance in Sunday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga.
Breaking sharply from post 4 under Florent Geroux as the 1-2 favorite, Monomoy Girl was able to get up past her foes and take the inside position heading into the first turn, while Gio Game ran to her outside. The pair led the way through tepid times of :24.12, :48.23, and 1:12.43 before Monomoy Girl began opening up her advantage heading into the far turn. Midnight Bisou mounted a rally three-wide through the far turn in an effort to catch the leader, but straightening for home, Monomoy Girl kicked it into high gear and drew off without much urging to win by a growing 3 lengths in a final time of 1:50.46 for the 1 1/8-mile main track event.
“I thought that I had the best horse coming into the race and I rode her like she was: take no prisoners, just take it to them right away, and keep on going,” Geroux said. “Sometimes, she’ll put the brakes on by the 3/8 pole and stuff, looking around and slowing herself down. Today, she stayed a little bit longer, maybe all the way until the 1/8 pole, and at the end, she was really waiting on company. That’s why the margin is never going to be like 15 lengths, but I had plenty in the tank.”
Midnight Bisou crossed in second, 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Chocolate Martini to complete a $1 exacta for $2.30 and a $0.50 trifecta for $9.20. Eskimo Kisses outran Gio Game to complete the order of finish.
Monomoy Girl’s win was her fifth straight graded stakes score (and fourth in a Grade 1 event), which pushed her overall record to 9-8-1-0. The Brad Cox trainee has bankrolled $1,660,750 since debuting last September at Indiana Grand for owners Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group, and Bethlehem Stables.
“I put this race up there as high any of her other Grade 1 wins this year,” Cox said. “It wasn’t a big field, but it was a mile and 1/8. I think there’s a still a question mark if that’s her best distance, but she proved today that she can do it. She’s got speed and puts herself in the race.”
The 3-year-old daughter of Tapizar could make one more appearance at the Spa this meet in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes, which is run at 1 1/4 miles. Cox said that he would play by ear where she made her final start before the world championships this fall.
“The Alabama is certainly a possibility,” Cox said. “It’s probably two more races this year: one more and then the Breeders’ Cup. We’ll let her determine where we are with her in terms of races. If today’s race was a mile and 1/4, I would have been confident with her coming in going another 1/8 of a mile. She’s not regressing, she gets bigger, stronger, shinier every race.”
Monomoy Girl returned $3 to win, $2.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. Midnight Bisou brought back $2.40 to place and $2.10 to show, while Chocolate Martini paid $4.30 to show.