Monomoy Girl rolled to her fifth win in six career starts and captured her first Grade 1 on Saturday at Keeneland, taking the Ashland Stakes easily by 5 1/2 lengths as the 1-5 favorite. Ridden by Florent Geroux, the 3-year-old daughter of the Tapit stallion Tapizar gave trainer Brad Cox his first career G1 victory in the Ashland. Eskimo Kisses finished second, with Patrona Margarita another 7 1/2 lengths back in third and Andina Del Sur fourth in the field of seven.
Time for 1 1/16 miles on a fast track was 1:43.74. Monomoy Girl, who paid $2.60 to win, races for the partnership of Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables. Out of the Henny Hughes mare Drumette, Monomoy Girl was bred in Kentucky by FPF LLC and Highfield Ranch.
With the victory, Monomoy Girl moved to second on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard with 154 points. The Ashland was worth 100-40-20-10 to the top four finishers.
“It's special,” Cox said of winning his first G1 race. “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 took the lead from her inside post position, setting easy fractions of :24.00, :47.98 and 1:12.62 for the first six furlongs. Patrona Margarita was her closest pursuer and tried to make a race of it a the top of the stretch after a mile in 1:37.62, but Monomoy Girl shrugged her off and drew away to the easiest of victories.
“There wasn't really a plan (regarding going for the lead), just wanted to get a good position and let the filly be comfortable,” said Geroux. “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.”
Monomoy Girl broke her maiden at Indiana Grand last September on turf, then added another grass win against allowance company at Churchill Downs later that month. She showed versatility, transitioning to dirt next out to win the Rags to Riches at Churchill Downs, then was beaten a neck by Road to Victory in the G2 Golden Rod Stakes at the Louisville track. Monomoy Girl raced once in 2018 prior to the Ashland, winning the G2 Rachel Alexandra by 2 1/2 lengths.
“She's breezed well but she's just a little slow from the gate,” said Cox. “Even today she didn't break that sharp. Florent (Geroux) had to nudge her on a little bit to get position. She's always been a good work horse on the dirt. She's obviously dual-surface, but we'll stay on dirt for now (for the Kentucky Oaks).”
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