Sent postward as the 1-2 favorite, Kentucky Oaks winner Monomoy Girl defeated Midnight Bisou by nearly three lengths in Sunday's Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga. Owned by Monomoy Stable, Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables, the 3-year-old daughter of Tapizar covered nine furlongs over the fast main track in 1:50.46. Florent Geroux guided Monomoy Girl through a front-running trip under pressure from Gio Game, and the Brad Cox trainee was able to repel Midnight Bisou in the stretch to earn a fourth consecutive Grade 1 victory.
“Sometimes, she'll put the brakes on by the three-eighths pole and stuff, looking around and slowing herself down,” Geroux said. “Today, she stayed a little bit longer, maybe all the way until the eighth pole and at the end, she was really waiting on company. That's why the margin is never going to like 15 lengths, but I had a plenty in the tank.”
A perfect beginning saw Monomoy Girl and Gio Game go head-to-head approaching the clubhouse turn, but it was Monomoy Girl who took a short lead in the first eighth of a mile. Mike Smith settled Midnight Bisou into a perfect stalking trip just two lengths off the leader, while Eskimo Kisses and Chocolate Martini rounded out the compact field.
Laying down steady fractions despite the pressure, Monomoy Girl took a clear one-length lead headed into the far turn. Midnight Bisou had to be urged to follow that leader, but was within striking range at the head of the stretch.
Monomoy Girl never hesitated, drawing away from her rivals down the lane to win by about three lengths. Midnight Bisou could do no better than second, and Chocolate Martini got up for third.
“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 an eighth. 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 fractions were great up front, when I saw the 48 flat [seconds for a half-mile], I don't think she's ever went that slow. I can't recall. She certainly brings it every time. At the quarter-pole, I was very confident. I told Florent [Geroux] to ride her with confidence but ask her to leave [the gate quickly]. That's the only thing I told him. We knew she's comfortable on the lead. Around two turns, I think we can do that. One turn, she can sit off a horse or two but ultimately that depends on how much other speed is in the race.”
Bred in Kentucky by FPF LLC and Highfield Ranch, Monomoy Girl was a $100,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September sale. She has won all but one of her nine starts, including the past four Grade 1 races in a row. Overall, Monomoy Girl boasts earnings of over $1.6 million.
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