Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables’ Monomoy Girl outdueled Wonder Gadot by a half-length after a stretch-long duel to win the 144th running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) for 3-year-old fillies. Before a crowd of 113,510, the fifth largest Oaks Day in history.
Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Florent Geroux, Monomoy Girl covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.13.
Take Charge Paula led the field of 14 under the wire the first time as Geroux angled Monomoy Girl over into the three path going into the first turn from the No. 14 post.
Geroux was content to sit behind Take Charge Paula, who was tracked by Sassy Sienna and Classy Act, before moving to the lead entering the far turn.
At that point, Wonder Gadot and John Velazquez took up the chase and the two fillies hit the top of the stretch as a team and raced that way through the lane before Monomoy Girl edged away in the final strides.
There was some bumping in the stretch and Velazquez lodged an objection that was disallowed by the stewards.
Monomoy Girl is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Tapizar out of the Henny Hughes mare Drumette. The victory was worth $564,200 and increased her earnings to $1,120,750 with a record of 7-6-1-0.
Monomoy Girl is undefeated in three starts in 2018 with victories coming in the Rachel Alexandra (GII) at Fair Grounds and the Ashland (GI) at Keeneland, a victory that gave Cox his first Grade I win.
Monomoy Girl returned $7.20, $4.60 and $3.60. Wonder Gadot, paid her backers $14 and $7.20 in finishing 3 ¾ lengths in front of favored Midnight Bisou who paid $3.20 to show under Mike Smith.
It was another half-length back to Eskimo Kisses in fourth with Chocolate Martini, Sassy Siena, Coach Rocks, Kelly’s Humor, Heavenhasmynikki, Classy Act, My Miss Lilly, Patrona Margarita, Rayya and Take Charge Paula following in order.
Brad Cox, trainer of Monomoy Girl (1st), Sassy Sienna (6th) and Kelly’s Humor (8th) –“It was unbelievable. It worked out just the way we planned. That was the trip we were hoping for. Florent (Geroux) did a great job getting her out of the gate and getting her into position. She was three wide into the first turn. That was kind of what we expected. It all went well. She was able to put herself where she needed to be and kick on down the lane. She did look like she got a little hesitant at the quarter pole and Florent said he had to stay on to her. She responded and finished strong down the lane.”
Mark Casse, trainer of Wonder Gadot (2nd) – “The filly that won ran very game. There was contact (in the stretch) and it made our filly switch her leads. I think it was going to be really close, but I think the stewards made the right call. To take a horse down in this type of race, it would have to be pretty significant. As much as I’d like to say I would like to have won, I understand the ruling. I’m very proud of her. She’s definitely a wonder woman.
“She has a lot (of heart). I can tell you, you come back there (to the barn) in an hour and if you’re not careful she’ll kick you. She’s a tough filly, so I’m proud of her. The filly that won it is a super filly. I think the decision was fair. I think we were right in claiming foul because there was contact three times, and like I said, the third one caused us to jump our lead.
“I lost a tougher one in the Preakness last year (with Classic Empire). I feel blessed to do what I do and run in the races I do. Of course I want to win, but I’m proud that we ran well, that’s all I can ask. Some days we win them, some days we lose them.”
Bill Spawr, trainer of Midnight Bisou (3rd) – “We didn’t get the best of starts. Mike (Smith) told me that when she got banged at the start it knocked the air out of her. She got hit again on the turn (for home). She still ran well.”
Kenny McPeek, trainer of Eskimo Kisses (4th) – “She ran great. He tried to sneak up the rail and when they were turning the corner she got stopped and lost all momentum. But she ran good. We talked about a rail trip and he (Corey Lanerie) said she’s easily third if he doesn’t get stopped.
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