Champions Monomoy Girl, Essential Quality Return To Fair Grounds To Prepare For Next Engagements

Champions Monomoy Girl and Essential Quality left Oaklawn in Hot Springs, Ark., late Tuesday morning after successful 2021 debuts over the weekend for Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox.

Assistant trainer Jorgito Abrego, who oversees Cox’s Oaklawn division, said Monomoy Girl and Essential Quality were vanned back to Fair Grounds in New Orleans, La.,  where they have been based and trained this winter, and now, early spring. Essential Quality (4 for 4 overall) won Saturday’s $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds, his first start since clinching an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion 2-year-old male in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Nov. 6 at Keeneland.

Monomoy Girl began her farewell tour by winning Sunday’s $250,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) for older fillies and mares to stretch her career record to 14-2-0 from 16 starts. She was the county’s champion 3-year-old filly of 2018 and champion older dirt female last year.

Cox said Essential Quality could return to Hot Springs for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 10. Plans are more concrete for Monomoy Girl, who will be pointed for the $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 17 at Oaklawn, Cox said.

“Little more consistent weather there right now,” Cox said. “That would be the main reason we’re taking them back down. Neither one of them will run there, obviously.”

Monomoy Girl received a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 96 for her two-length Bayakoa victory. It was her first start since winning the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) Nov. 7 at Keeneland and first since Spendthrift Farm purchased the 6-year-old daughter of Tapizar for $9.5 million the following day at Fasig-Tipton‘s Kentucky Fall Mixed Sale. Monomoy Girl will join Spendthrift’s broodmare band in 2022, its stallion sales manager, Mark Toothaker, said in the Larry Snyder Winner’s Circle following the Bayakoa.

Bloodstock agent Liz Crow purchased Monomoy Girl for $100,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for her original owner, Sol Kumin. Shortly before the Bayakoa, it was revealed that Kumin had bought back into the mare and My Racehorse Stable, which offers fractional ownership to investors, was another of Spendthrift’s racing partners.

“You couldn’t help but being a little bit nervous,” Toothaker, a Van Buren, Ark., native, said. “She did what she does. She doesn’t win always drawing off, just does enough to win. Brad said that’s probably why she’s still around at 6 years old.”

Favored at 1-5 under regular rider Florent Geroux, Monomoy Girl ($2.40) ran 1 1/16 miles over a sloppy surface in 1:45.92. Lightning was visible southeast of Oaklawn during the post parade. Like Toothaker, Cox said he was a “little bit” nervous leading up to Monomoy Girl’s 2021 debut.

“That kind of comes with what she’s accomplished,” Cox said moments after sweeping the final three races Sunday. “It’s kind of a relief to get it over with.”

Monomoy Girl’s 11th stakes victory increased her career earnings to $4,576,818, which ranks 82nd in North American history, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Among Oaklawn-raced females, only Eclipse Award winners Midnight Bisou ($7,471,520) and Zenyatta ($7,304,580) have bankrolled more money. Zenyatta won the 2008 and 2010 Apple Blossom en route to champion older dirt female honors. She was also 2010 Horse of the Year. Midnight Bisou used a victory in the 2019 Apple Blossom as a springboard to an Eclipse Award as champion older dirt female.

“We’re just very fortunate to be around her and to own her,” Toothaker said. “Look forward to this year and we’ll look forward to breeding her to Into Mischief next year. Very exciting.”

Kentucky’s Spendthrift stands Into Mischief, North America’s leading sire the last two years.

The Southwest and Bayakoa were originally scheduled Feb. 15 before being postponed twice because of severe winter weather. The Bayakoa was Monomoy Girl’s first start at Oaklawn.

The post Champions Monomoy Girl, Essential Quality Return To Fair Grounds To Prepare For Next Engagements appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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