Monomoy Girl Stands Out in Ashland Stakes
She’ll be a short price, but I’m not sure there’s a more likely winner in any of the weekend stakes races than #1 Monomoy Girl in Saturday’s $500,000 Central Bank Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.On paper, the daughter of Tapizar has a seemingly overwhelming advantage over her six rivals in the Ashland, an 8.5-furlong event that serves as a major prep for the upcoming Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). Trained by Brad Cox, Monomoy Girl opened her career last year with a pair of impressive victories going a mile on turf, then switched to dirt and took her game to another level, winning the one-mile Rags to Riches Stakes at Churchill Downs in gate-to-wire fashion by a decisive 6 ½ lengths.
Monomoy Girl was subsequently beaten a neck after setting the pace in the 8.5-furlong Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill, her final start of the season, but following a winter break she returned to action in the February 17th Rachel Alexandra Stakes (gr. II) at Fair Grounds and delivered a huge performance. A poor start left her in last place early on, some seven lengths off the pace, but Monomoy Girl shrugged off the change in running style, swept past the field on the far turn, and drew off to win by 2 ½ lengths.
In terms of speed figures, Monomoy Girl is fast—her last three BRIS speed figures of 97, 99, and 96 are all higher than the career-best figures earned by any of her rivals. Her early speed is also a major asset—she posted triple-digit BRIS E1 and E2 speed figures in both the Rags to Riches and the Golden Rod—but the versatility she displayed in the Rachel Alexandra gives her options in case she is beaten to the lead in the Ashland.
Throw in the fact that Monomoy Girl has drawn the rail, setting her up for a ground-saving trip if she breaks well, and I find it difficult to envision a scenario in which Monomoy Girl loses the Ashland. She’s 4-5 on the morning line, but she looks like a single for the multi-race wagers and a horse to key on top in the exacta, trifecta, and superfecta.
#2 Eskimo Kisses is the clear second choice off a narrow defeat in the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) two weeks ago, but the late-running filly benefited from a very fast pace that day and RacingFlow.com assigned the race a Closer Favorability Ratio (CFR) of 97, indicating a very closer-friendly race. I’ll hope to beat Eskimo Kisses for second with the speedy #4 C. S. Incharge, winner of the Suncoast Stakes for trainer Dale Romans.
$10 exacta: 1 with 4 ($10) $4 trifecta: 1 with 2,4 with 2,4 ($8) $1 superfecta: 1 with 2,4 with 2,4,5 with 2,3,4,5,6 ($12)