Monomoy Girl Stands Out in Rachel Alexandra Stakes
The $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (gr. II) on Saturday at Fair Grounds is a pretty important stop on the Road to the .The 8.5-furlong event is the first Kentucky Oaks prep race to offer 50 qualification points to the winner, and in all likelihood those 50 points will go to #8 Monomoy Girl, who looks tough to beat as the clear 8-5 choice on the morning line.
In terms of speed figures, Monomoy Girl holds an impressive edge over her seven rivals. After opening her career with a pair of wins going a mile on turf at Indiana Grand and Churchill Downs, Monomoy Girl switched to dirt and cruised to an easy win in the one-mile Rags to Riches Stakes at Churchill, setting fast fractions of :22.73, :45.86, and 1:10.67 before drawing off to win by 6 ½ lengths with a 97 BRIS speed figure.
Monomoy Girl arguably ran even better when finishing second in the Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II) a month later, for she once again set a quick pace (earning BRIS E1 and E2 pace figures of 104 and 111) before falling a neck short at the wire, earning a 99 BRIS speed figure. In terms of both pace figures and final figures, no one in the Rachel Alexandra field has run anywhere near as fast as Monomoy Girl; in fact, the highest final figure earned by any of Monomoy Girl’s rivals is a 91. The only potential chink in Monomoy Girl’s armor that I see is the fact that she’s running for the first time since November while facing a field with a few other talented front-runners, but Monomoy Girl won her debut by rallying from seventh place, and trainer Brad Cox wins at a sharp 29% rate with horses returning from similar layoffs.
I don’t think Monomoy Girl will be beaten in the Rachel Alexandra, which leads us to the trickier question of identifying the fillies most likely to finish in the exotics—they’re an evenly-matched group and tough to separate. I’ll favor the chances of the 2017 Alcibiades Stakes (gr. I) winner #6 Heavenly Love, who gets an outside draw after a couple of tough trips with inside post positions; #4 Wonder Gadot, a two-time graded stakes winner that was beaten a neck in the Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds last month; #3 Classy Act, a decisive allowance winner at Fair Grounds last month; and #2 She's a Julie, third behind Classy Act last time out despite breaking slowly while coming off a long layoff.
$4 trifecta: 8 with 3,4,6 with 3,4,6 ($24) $1 trifecta: 8 with 5 with 3,4,6 ($3) $1 trifecta: 8 with 3,4,6 with 5 ($3)