Monomoy Girl, Wonder Gadot to Meet at Fair Grounds

After they both just missed victory in their most recent starts, Wonder Gadot and Monomoy Girl will each try to take care of business in the $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) Feb. 17 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Making her season debut, Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group, and Bethlehem Stables' Monomoy Girl is the 8-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday's 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-old fillies. The daughter of Tapizar  will be making her first start since closing out 2017 with a runner-up finish—a neck behind Road to Victory—in the 1 1/16-mile Golden Rod Stakes (G2) Nov. 25 at Churchill Downs

Monomoy Girl opened her career with a pair of wins on turf before a front-running score in the one-turn mile Rags to Riches Stakes at Churchill. 

Since Jan. 14 Monomoy Girl has registered five workouts at Fair Grounds for trainer Brad Cox, including a Jan. 29 five-furlong bullet move in 1:00 flat and a Feb. 12 half-mile bullet work in :47 2/5. She will start Saturday's race from the outside post in an expected field of eight.

"I'm glad that we have a two-turn race under our belt," Cox said. "I think we got a good post where we can sit off of the speed or we can be the speed. She was a little unfortunate not to win the Golden Rod. I don't really know that we have any excuses other than we just got nailed right at the wire. She's done extremely well, and she's ready to go."

Wonder Gadot's recent close runner-up finish came in her season debut when she was second by a neck to Stronger Than Ever in the listed Silverbulletday Stakes Jan. 13 at Fair Grounds. As a juvenile, Gary Barber's filly won three of five starts, including stakes wins in the Demoiselle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct Racetrack and the Mazarine Stakes (G3) on the Woodbine synthetic surface.

Since the Silverbulletday, the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro  has worked three times for trainer Mark Casse at Fair Grounds, including a Feb. 9 four-furlong breeze in :48 2/5, 11th fastest of 108 at the distance.

Casse said that jockey John Velazquez thought perhaps Wonder Gadot was a bit too close early in the Silverbulletday.

"Johnny kind of felt like maybe we got too aggressive with her in her last start—we chased a little more than we should have," Casse said. "So I see us sitting behind Brad Cox's filly. Brad's filly is a nice filly, but our filly is a nice filly. Both fillies are training well."

Casse also will send out Heavenly Love in the Rachel Alexandra, the year's first 85-point Road to the Kentucky Oaks qualifying race. The Debby Oxley homebred, winner of last year's Darley Alcibiades Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, will try to bounce back from a fifth-place finish in the Silverbulletday. Since that race, the Malibu Moon  filly has breezed three times at Fair Grounds, including a bullet half-mile breeze in :47 flat Feb. 2 and another swift four furlongs Feb. 9 in :47 3/5.

"I was a little disappointed with Heavenly Love in her race, but looking back I don't think she got anything out of the Breeders' Cup," said Casse, referring to her unplaced performance in the 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). "She may have been a bit of a short horse. She's worked extremely well since (the Silverbulletday) so she'll have no excuses. We know that she loves Keeneland, obviously, we saw how she ran there last fall, so we're trying to get her happy and healthy and on some decent form so she can be ready for the Ashland (G1)."

A pair of fillies entering Saturday's race in top form are Testing One Two and Classy Act. Brittlyn Stable's Testing One Two, a Louisiana-bred, has won her past three races at Delta Downs by a combined 27 1/4 lengths, while Carl R. Moore Management's Classy Act has won her past two races by a combined 6 1/2 lengths. Both fillies will be making their graded stakes debuts in the Rachel Alexandra.

Entries: Rachel Alexandra S. (G2)

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Saturday, February 17, 2018, Race 7

  • Grade II
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo Fillies
  • 4:05 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Actress On Board (TN)Marcelino Pedroza116William Don Bennett20/1
22Testing One Two (LA)Diego Saenz120Victor Arceneaux6/1
33Classy Act (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJavier Castellano116W. Bret Calhoun6/1
44Wonder Gadot (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez122Mark E. Casse4/1
55She's a Julie (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCorey J. Lanerie116Steven M. Asmussen12/1
66Heavenly Love (KY)Julien R. Leparoux122Mark E. Casse6/1
77Patrona Margarita (TX)Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.122W. Bret Calhoun6/1
88Monomoy Girl (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlorent Geroux120Brad H. Cox8/5