History repeating with Mr. Monomoy and Modernist
"They say the next big thing is here
that the revolution's near
but to me it seems quite clear
that it's all just a little bit of history repeating"
"History Repeating" by Propellerheads, featuring Shirley Bassey, felt anachronistic in 1998. Its jazzy chanteuse vibe felt like a retro remix, but it was a completely new collaboration between a classic vocalist and a pair of English DJs, about everything old being new again. The song encapsulates the two divisions of Saturday's Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds, with winners who are good right now but also hearken back to horse racing's recent past.
We've seen a star out of the Henny Hughes mare Drumette, even one trained by Brad Cox and named after co-owner Monomoy Stables. Monomoy Girl won the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) on her way to a championship.
Her half-brother Mr. Monomoy showed ability in the Lecomte (G3), when he kept on as everyone else near a blistering pace faded. With a more reasonable pace in the first division of the Risen Star, Mr. Monomoy ran his best race yet. He turned back Blackberry Wine and held both Enforceable and Silver State neatly at bay.
Looking to the second division, it hasn't been long since trainer Bill Mott ventured on the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail with a horse who jumped from the maiden ranks to the Risen Star. He made that move with Country House last year, and it came up roses.
Mott returned in this year's Risen Star with Modernist, already an easy winner at a mile and an eighth. The stars aligned for Modernist to rise in New Orleans. He returned to the same distance as his maiden win, pressed the pace set by Ny Traffic, and held stoutly to win by a length over Major Fed. It's a long way from the Risen Star to the Derby, but it's a course his trainer has charted before.
Whether it ties into pedigree or connections, sometimes the next big thing in horse racing sounds familiar—a jazzy riff, a sultry timbre, a little bit of history repeating.
Derby Remix is a weekly series that crosses the lines of culture and Kentucky Derby contenders.