Champions Essential Quality, Monomoy Girl Remain On Target For Delayed Oaklawn Stakes

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and 2020 Champion 2-year-old Essential Quality remains on target for Oaklawn’s delayed running of the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes, reigning champion trainer Brad Cox told the Paulick Report.

Hot Springs, Ak. has been beset by extreme winter weather since it last held racing on Feb. 11. The track has seen several inches of snow and sub-zero temperatures over the past week, and is forecast to receive an additional 10-plus inches of snow in the coming days. Races were cancelled this weekend, and all graded stakes were rescheduled.

The $750,000 Southwest, which offers 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby to the winner, was originally scheduled to be run on Feb. 15, and is now expected to be rescheduled to the week of Feb. 25-28. That puts the Southwest just two weeks before Oaklawn’s next prep race, the G2 Rebel on March 14.

Essential Quality remains stabled at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, La., where temperatures have dipped below freezing overnight but are not nearly as cold as in Arkansas. The Godolphin-owned 3-year-old son of Tapit put in a workout at Fair Grounds on Feb. 14, covering five furlongs in 1:02.40.

After the Southwest, Cox said Essential Quality’s major options for final prep races are the G1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn on April 10 or the G2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 3.

Also remaining on target for her 2021 debut at Oaklawn is dual champion Monomoy Girl. The now 6-year-old daughter of Tapizar was scheduled to run in the G3 Bayakoa Stakes on Feb. 15, and will still make her next start in that race when it’s rescheduled to the week of Feb. 25-28. Monomoy Girl is also stabled at the Fair Grounds, and worked five furlongs there in 1:01.40 on Feb. 14.

“It hasn’t really affected the training for both Essential Quality and Monomoy Girl,” Cox told bloodhorse.com. “They have been working steadily and are ready to run. We worked them this weekend when they were supposed to race and we’ll breeze them again this weekend to prep for the races next weekend. They are ready to run. We’ll ship them up when the weather clears.”

The post Champions Essential Quality, Monomoy Girl Remain On Target For Delayed Oaklawn Stakes appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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