NEW ORLEANS, LA – Trainer Brad Cox’s Mr. Monomoy laid to rest any doubts regarding his ability to route on Saturday when he took the field gate to wire in the first division of the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford (G2) at Fair Grounds.
Breaking from post 9 under Florent Geroux at 7/1 odds, Mr. Monomoy took command heading into the clubhouse turn, forcing Ready to Roll to check as he slid toward the rail. As Blackberry Wine gave closest chase, Mr. Monomoy posted opening fractions of :24.22, :48.57, and 1:12.85 through the first 3/4 of a mile.
Blackberry Wine made a bid in the far turn, but Mr. Monomoy repelled him and began pulling away. Kept to task for nearly the entire stretch, Mr. Monomoy crossed 2 1/2 lengths clear in a final time of 1:50.43 for the 1 1/8-mile event over the fast main track.
“We had a really good start out of the gate,” Geroux said. “I was thinking about stalking, but when I saw no one was really going for the lead, I took advantage of it and went for it. It worked really nicely for me. It was a good distance and there was no real competition up front. Last time, he did have a bad trip, but it was partly the break. He’s still a new horse and learning everything, but he showed me a lot today. I’m really happy with him.”
Enforceable and Silver State came closing from mid-pack to take second and third, respectively, with only a 1/2-length separating the 3/1 co-favorites. Together with Mr. Monomoy, they were also the top three finishers in last month’s local Lecomte Stakes (G3), though in that event, Enforceable and Silver State took first and second over Mr. Monomoy.
“He ran a great race,” said Enforceable’s jockey Julien Leparoux. “There wasn’t really any pace and the winner was on the lead easy. My horse responded when I asked and put in a really good run down the lane. I’m happy with how he ran and look forward to having him go longer in distance.”
Farmington Road came from next-to-last to take fourth over Digital, who tracked the early pace but couldn’t capitalize when it counted. Scabbard was sixth over an emptied Blackberry Wine. Behind them came Moon Over Miami, Ready to Roll, Perfect Revenge, and Shashashakemeup to complete the order of finish.
The Risen Star is part of the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Mr. Monomoy earned 50 points for the win, with Enforceable receiving 20 for second, Silver State 10 for third, and Farmington Road 5 for fourth.
Mr. Monomoy’s win was his first since breaking his maiden at second asking on November 16 at Churchill Downs. The 3-year-old son of Palace Malice now sports a record of 5-2-1-1 with $327,162 earned for co-owners Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, and Doheny Racing Stable.
“He galloped out well last time (in the Lecomte) and I thought he could get this distance,” Cox said. “I thought the draw today gave him the opportunity to break and clear if he wanted, and obviously he was willing to do it. Florent put him in a great spot and he stepped up to the plate today and proved that he belongs. We have a long way to go, but we expect him to come out in good order.”
As for Mr. Monomoy’s next start, Cox was noncommittal.
“It will probably be one more race before the Derby; what race that will be, we don’t know,” Cox said. “We just have to see how he comes out of it and see what other horses run in the next few weeks and see how everything unfolds, but we’re really happen with him.”
Mr. Monomoy returned $17 to win, $8 to place, and $4.60 to show. Enforceable brought back $4.60 to place and $3 to show, while Silver State paid $2.80 to show.