Monomoy Girl looks to win Distaff again – Press Enterprise
Many talented fillies and mares have raced over the past decade or so, starting with Zenyatta and including such other standouts as Beholder, Songbird, Rachel Alexandra, Midnight Bisou, Tepin and Havre de Grace.
You can add Monomoy Girl to that list as well, seeing as though the 5-year-old daughter of Tapizar has won 12 of 14 lifetime and never been worse than second. She’s won six Grade I races and earned nearly $3.4 million during her dazzling career.
Heading into Saturday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff, which she won in 2018 at Churchill Downs, it’s unknown if she’ll race in 2021 as a 6-year-old. A lot depends on how she fares Saturday at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky.
“I think (the owners) have it in the back of their mind if she shows up and runs extremely well in the Distaff, it could be a possibility that they would like to campaign her in 2021, just given the fact she did not race as a 4-year-old,” trainer Brad Cox said. “This is basically her 4-year-old season. I think there’s going be a meeting at some point after the Breeders’ Cup that night, or probably the next day, and at some point we’re going to have to get a game plan ready and see what happens.”
There’s no reason to believe Monomoy Girl won’t show up Saturday and run a huge race against Swiss Skydiver and eight others in the Distaff. She’s crossed the finish line first in her past 10 races dating to February 2018, but she was disqualified and placed second behind Midnight Bisou in the Grade I Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing in September 2018.
But if this year’s Distaff is her final race, it will be an emotional scene in the winner’s circle considering she was forced to sit out all of 2019 because of a mild bout with colic and then a pulled gluteal muscle.
The fact she’s come back and run as she has in 2020 is no small feat. She’s three for three this year, including victories in the Grade II Ruffian Stakes at Belmont Park on July 11 and the Grade I La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks day.
“For her to be able to compete at a Grade I level is really amazing, really amazing for us as a team to be able to get back to that point,” Cox said. “Honestly, we feel like she’s better this year than she was in 2018. It just means a lot to us and our staff, and obviously the owners, for her to be able to make it back.”
Monomoy Girl was the horse that helped kick start Cox’s career at the highest level. She gave the 40-year-old trainer his first Grade I victory (Ashland Stakes), his first Breeders’ Cup win (Distaff) and his first champion when she won the Eclipse Award for top 3-year-old filly in 2018.
“Words really honestly can’t describe it,” Cox said. “I don’t have enough time, nor do you guys, in order to (describe) what Monomoy Girl’s done for my career and several others. You know, she means the world to us.
“We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished with her, and it’s been, the last two years, the highest of the highs and some very low points with her in 2019 with a couple of setbacks. But we’ve been very fortunate to have her.”
It figures to be quite a showdown when Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver lay it down in the Distaff. Swiss Skydiver has enjoyed quite a year in her own right, running nine times at nine different race tracks, winning five times while running twice against the boys. She became only the sixth female to win the Preakness when she outdueled Kentucky Derby winner Authentic in the stretch.
Swiss Skydiver’s trainer, Kenny McPeek, considered the Classic for his classy filly, but in the end decided to keep her in against her own sex.
“Monomoy Girl will definitely be the horse to beat in the Distaff,” McPeek said. “We need to step up our game (because) she’s certainly a top filly. It’s not going to be an easy race, and it’s not supposed to be.”
Some of the highlights of Monomoy Girl’s career:
• Won six Grade I stakes, including the Kentucky Oaks and the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in 2018.
• Earned nearly $3.4 million during a 14-race career.
• Won 12 of 14 starts, and never finished worse than second.
• Gave trainer Brad Cox his first Grade I victory, his first Breeders’ Cup win, and his first champion when she won an Eclipse Award for top 3-year-old filly in 2018.
• Won graded-stakes races at five different tracks.
• Returned from a year off because of colic and a pulled muscle and has won all three of her races in 2020.