HOT SPRINGS, AR – Champion Monomoy Girl remains on track to make her 2021 debut in the $250,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) for older females February 15 at Oaklawn Park, trainer Brad Cox told track officials.
Monomoy Girl is based at Fair Grounds, where she has recorded 2 workouts since completing an unbeaten 2020 campaign (4 for 4) with a 1 3/4-length victory in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) November 7 at Keeneland.
Spendthrift Farm, Kentucky’s famed racing/breeding operation, purchased Monomoy Girl for $9.5 million the following day at Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky Fall Mixed Sale and opted to keep her in training with Cox in 2021, with the 1 1/16-mile Bayakoa now her first confirmed target.
“Honestly, with her breeze this past weekend, she’s probably a little ahead of schedule as far as where I thought she would be,” Cox said. “We never took her out of training. We just backed off of her. She’s as good as ever, to be honest with you. She’s a monster.”
A 6-year-old daughter of Tapizar, Monomoy Girl has won 13 of 15 lifetime starts and bankrolled $4,426,818. She was the country’s champion 3-year-old filly of 2018, and after missing 2019 with injury and illness, clinched her second Eclipse Award, this time as champion older dirt female, with a second Breeders’ Cup Distaff victory in November.
Monomoy Girl returned to the work tab December 27 at Fair Grounds, covering 3 furlongs in :37. She breezed a 1/2-mile in :48.80 over a fast track Sunday morning.
“She’s really training well,” Cox said. “Looks amazing. Her weight’s great. Her breeze this weekend was spectacular. If we can continue to see that throughout the year, we’re going to have a great year again.”
The Bayakoa is Oaklawn’s second of three preps for the $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 17. The final stepping stone is the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 13. A seven-time Grade 1 winner, Monomoy Girl has never raced at Oaklawn or faced males. The Apple Blossom will be run the same day as the $1 million Oaklawn Handicap (G2) for older horses.
Cox said the Azeri could be a loose comeback target for Monomoy Girl’s younger stablemate, Shedaresthedevil, who is scheduled to return this month to Hot Springs to continue preparations for her 4-year-old campaign.
Shedaresthedevil, who was based last winter and spring at Oaklawn, was among the country’s top 3-year-old fillies after winning 4 races, including the $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) in March at Oaklawn and the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) September 4 at Churchill Downs.
Shedaresthedevil, in her first start against older horses, completed 2020 with a third-place finish in the $400,000 Spinster Stakes (G1) October 4 at Keeneland. Shedaresthedevil then received a 60-day break, co-owner Staton Flurry of Hot Springs said, before resuming training in mid-December in Kentucky.
“Just kind of knocking the dust off of her,” said Cox, Oaklawn’s third-leading trainer last year. “She got a good break, a well-deserved break. No physical issues. Just thought she deserved some time. There was no sense going into the Breeders’ Cup. That was really the only thing left. I thought it was a wise decision by the ownership group to just give her the break. Our goal this year is to get her to the Breeders’ Cup in San Diego, at Del Mar. We’ll work our way back from that.”
Cox has divisions at Oaklawn and Fair Grounds and in New York and Florida.