Connections of Monomoy Girl are fixing their eyes on the Grade 1 La Troienne at Churchill Downs after the former champion three-year-old continued her resurgence at Belmont Park.
A two-length success in the Grade 2 Ruffian on Saturday saw Monomoy Girl posting a career-best speed figure of 104 as she continued the process of getting her career back on track.
Champion three-year-old in 2018, Monomoy Girl didn’t race last year after a number of setbacks but connections will be growing in confidence that she can make up for lost time now.
Owner Sol Kumin was pleased with the winning effort; declaring: “It was so great to see her back. She had been training so well going into the race, and this was just so exciting to see.”
The Brad Cox-trained filly had displayed real potential in 2018, winning five Grade 1 races, including the Acorn and Coaching Club American Oaks.
She capped a stellar campaign by taking on and defeating older horses in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs that November.
However, last year would prove a washout for the Tapizar chestnut when she suffered a mild case of colic and had to be sent to WinStar Farm to recover. Just as she was being prepared for a comeback, she suffered a hamstring problem in the autumn; forcing connections to write off the year.
She had returned to action by winning an optional claimer at Churchill Downs but there was no doubting her Ruffian success was a big step forward.
A bid for Grade 1 honours once more on her home track in early September now looks the likeliest option, according to Kumin.
“Most likely she’ll come back in the La Troienne,” Kumin said. “It’s a good distance, there’s good spacing between her races, and it’s at Churchill Downs, which is right at her front door. We’ll discuss it further with the rest of the partners, but more than likely that’s where you’ll see her.”
Kumin has no shortage of star quality in his armoury. He’s also a part-owner in Midnight Bisou, a champion older filly, as well as dual Grade 1 winner She’s A Julie.
For now he knows they can be plotted away from each other but Kumin suggests they will have to bite the bullet further down the line and cross paths.
“Obviously the day is going to come where they’ll have to face each other, but we’ll keep them separate for the time being” Kumin said. “I’m just very lucky to be involved with such great fillies. This is what the game is all about.”
After a host of big-race successes last year, Midnight Bisou was crowned American Champion Older Dirt Female Horse for 2019. The Steve Asmussen-trained five-year-old has already scored victory in the Fleur de Lis Stakes at Churchill Downs this season.