Oaklawn fans could be seeing double this year, with champion Monomoy Girl a candidate for the $700,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) for older fillies and mares April 14 and her 3-year-old full brother, Cowboy Diplomacy, scheduled to make his career debut in Friday's seventh race.
Cowboy Diplomacy has been based at Oaklawn for about two months, recording eight workouts (a Dec. 17 breeze wasn't published because of heavy fog) for trainer Brad Cox and owners Pocket Aces Racing LLC and Madaket Stables LLC (Sol Kumin).
Cox and Kumin, as a co-owner, also campaign Monomoy Girl, who was named champion 3-year-old filly of 2018 after crossing the wire first in all seven starts, including the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs.
Monomoy Girl and Cowboy Diplomacy – both chestnut – are by Tapizar out of the Henny Hughes mare, Drumette.
“They're identical to physically look at,” Cox said. “For the most part, they're very similar-looking horses. It's hard to believe. Either he looks like a filly or she looks like a colt. We're hoping he has just a touch of the ability she has, and he'll be all right because she's obviously a racehorse.”
Agent Liz Crow (BSW Bloodstock) purchased Monomoy Girl for $100,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale and was the underbidder on Cowboy Diplomacy, who sold to Pocket Aces Racing for $175,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale.
Crow said during a recent visit to Oaklawn that she loved Cowboy Diplomacy at the sale, but didn't “have $175,000 at that point in the year,” so she approached Mark Wampler, Pocket Aces' racing/bloodstock manager, about buying a piece of the colt. Pocket Aces provides opportunities to individuals through “fractional ownership,” according to its website.
Crow said Pocket Aces owns 75 percent of Cowboy Diplomacy and Kumin 25 percent.
Cowboy Diplomacy sold when Monomoy Girl had only made two career starts and just before she won the $82,670 Rags to Riches Stakes for 2-year-old fillies in October 2017 at Churchill Downs, which was her dirt and stakes debut.
“I think it would have gone up quite a bit because he looked a lot like her at the sale,” Crow said of the purchase price. “He had a ton of class and quality to him. I think at that point and time it was the week of the Rags to Riches, so she wasn't even a stakes winner. She hadn't even run on the dirt. She was just a two-time turf winner … if was there was year in between, like he was sold last year, I think he would have brought a lot more.”
Crow said she was immediately struck by the “size” and “scope” of Cowboy Diplomacy and the similarities to Monomoy Girl.
“Their hips are built a little differently,” Crow said. “There are a few things that are different about them, but they're small things.”
Crow said minor shin issues kept Cowboy Diplomacy from running at 2. His training sessions at Oaklawn have been highlighted by a swift 5-furlong bullet workout from the gate (:59.60) Jan. 20.
“It's funny,” Crow said. “I think he's shown more in the mornings than she did initially because she wasn't really highly thought of before she was breezing in the beginning of her career. It took her a while to put it all together, whereas he seems to really be putting it together in the mornings. Breezing :59 and change out of the gate wasn't something she really did in the mornings.”
Monomoy Girl recently returned to Cox's barn at Fair Grounds after a winter freshening in Florida. The Apple Blossom and $500,000 La Troienne Stakes (G1) May 3 at Churchill Downs are being considered for Monomoy Girl's 4-year-old debut, Cox said.
Probable post time for Friday's seventh race at 6 furlongs is 4:14 p.m. (Central).
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