By Nicholas Godfrey
Churchill Downs: Kentucky Oaks G1 $1.25m, 1m1f, dirt, 3yo fillies
Shedaresthedevil (Brad Cox/Florent Geroux)
A complete shock result – and a stakes record time – in America’s senior race for three-year-old fillies as Shedaresthedevil pressured hot favourite Gamine throughout before holding off the challenge of Swiss Skydiver in the final furlong.
Carrying the cerise-and-gold-braid Qatar Racing silks in the $1.25 million contest, Shedaresthedevil was sent off a 15-1 shot in a race largely thought to be a match between the two market principals.
As expected, Gamine went directly to the front and did not seem unduly troubled at only a fair clip – deceptive, perhaps, as the final time of 1m48.28s was a stakes record, albeit for a race run with fillies four months older than is normally the case.
However, Gamine had never run 1m1f before and had nothing left in the stretch, while Swiss Skydiver, who raced just behind the pace, could not get to Shedaresthedevil and went down by a length and a half
In a remarkable result, the one-two are both from the first crop of former WInStar stallion Daredevil, a G1-winning son of More Than Ready sold to the Turkish Jockey Club for the 2020 covering season.
Winning jockey Florent Geroux was completing a five-timer on the Oaks card, where he and trainer Brad Cox won both G1 races, having earlier claimed the La Troienne with their 2018 Kentucky Oaks winner Monomoy Girl.
Brad Cox (Shedaresthedevil’s trainer): “This is why you wake up every morning, to get to win races like this. This filly has been really impressive coming into the race and when she breezed with Monomoy Girl a couple weeks ago, we knew how well she was training. There were some tough fillies in the Oaks this year with Swiss Skydiver and Gamine. We are so thrilled to win a race like this again in our backyard.”
Bob Baffert (Gamine’s trainer): “She just didn’t have it. Turning for home, she was in a good spot and she was late switching leads and she never does that. I don’t know if she just got tired or whatever. But down the backside he couldn’t have been any better, he was in the perfect spot. I kept waiting for her to just scoot away from that filly but she just didn’t have it. She just got beat.”
Monomoy Girl is much too good
Churchill Downs: La Troienne Stakes G1 $500,000, 1m½f, dirt, 4yo+ f/m
Monomoy Girl (Brad Cox/Florent Geroux)
The trainer/jockey partnership behind Shedaresthedevil kicked off a high-profile G1 double with Monomoy Girl, who returned to her favourite venue with a decisive effort to record her sixth victory at the highest level.
Winner of both the Kentucky Oaks and Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs during her magnificent three-year-old campaign in 2018, the daughter of Tapizar missed the whole of last year owing to colic and a hamstring injury.
The formidable mare was completing a hat-trick since returning in May after an 18-month absence. Her career record now stands at 12 wins from 14 starts – and one of those defeats was a DQ. She has been beaten only once on the track, by a neck as a two-year-old.
Brad Cox (Monomoy Girl’s trainer): “She’s the only horse I get nervous running. Once I leg up Florent, it’s ten minutes of anxiety. He did have to work on her a little bit to clear off from Lady Kate. She’s a true champion and is able to overcome a four-wide trip into the first turn. She’s the horse of a lifetime.”
Florent Geroux (Monomoy Girl’s jockey): “There was no doubt. She gave us every indication in the morning that she was back at a top level. There is no doubt she is a champion horse and definitely a horse of a lifetime. There was a little bit of congestion going into the first turn, but I had a nice outside post. I was never worried. I was on the best horse and we had a great trip. I just had to push the button when she was ready.”
Royal Ascot runner-up Sharing back with a win
Churchill Downs: Edgewood Stakes G2 $300,000, 1m, turf, 3yo fillies
Sharing (Graham Motion/Manny Franco)
Sent off 3-5 favourite, Royal Ascot runner-up Sharing was in dominant form on her US return, tracking the pace before drawing away in the stretch on rain-softened ground. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf winner is likely to be seen next in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on October 10.
Graham Motion (Sharing’s trainer): “I can’t lie, I was pretty anxious about it because she was coming off a long trip and a long break. But she’s so classy, she makes us all look good, I think. The only question I have in my mind is how far she wants to go. She obviously loves this distance. The next race would be a mile and an eighth if we go to the QEII at Keeneland. I don’t know if she wants to go that far, I don’t know why she wouldn’t, but she seems awfully good going a mile. I think the QEII is a race anyone with a good three-year-old filly wants to go.”
Manny Franco (Sharing’s jockey): “She has tactical speed. She broke out of there good and put me in a position where I wanted to go. After that, she knows how to get it done. She is so nice and has a really good turn of foot. She is very professional.”
Churchill Downs: Alysheba Stakes G2 $400,000, 1m½f, dirt, 4yo+
By My Standards (Bret Calhoun/Gabriel Saez)
A fourth G2 victory for By My Standards, who forged home best after sitting just behind a glacial pace. Connections are planning a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Last year’s winner McKinzie disappointed, having nothing to offer after being pinned down on the rail throughout.
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