Saratoga Springs

Intriguing duel looms in CCA Oaks

Monomoy Girl, Midnight Bisou get a rematch from the Kentucky Oaks
Monomoy Girl gallops on the Saratoga main track on Thursday in preparation for the CCA Oaks.
Monomoy Girl gallops on the Saratoga main track on Thursday in preparation for the CCA Oaks.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Monomoy Girl is one short neck from being undefeated.

Midnight Bisou is two noses at the beginning of her career and a troubled third to Monomoy Girl in the Kentucky Oaks from being undefeated.

And there are other 3-year-old fillies waiting in the wings who will make their presence felt before the end of the year.

For now, though, Monomoy Girl and Midnight Bisou are the main event, and will be butting heads in the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga Race Course on Sunday.

Monomoy Girl’s only loss was in the Golden Rod at Churchill Downs last year, when Road to Victory pressured Monomoy Girl on her outside flank for most of the race, then passed her in the final strides.

Then Road to Victory brought an undefeated record to the Mother Goose at Belmont Park on June 30, and was blown away by Midnight Bisou by six lengths in a dead-calm hand ride by Mike Smith.

Meanwhile, Monomoy Girl cruised to a two-length victory in the Acorn on June 9 and brings a four-race winning streak, the last three of which were Grade I’s, into the CCA Oaks.

“I don’t feel like she’s regressed at any point this year,” trainer Brad Cox said. “That’s a testament to how tough she is, how strong she is and her ability to keep getting better and keeping her form.”

In the Kentucky Oaks, Monomoy Girl battled Wonder Gadot from the turn all the way to the final strides to win  by a half-length.

Midnight Bisou finished third, and probably would’ve contributed to the duel between the top two if she hadn’t been squeezed from the inside and outside breaking from the No. 10 post.

She also got nudged wider from the inside while starting her closing kick coming off the second turn.

After the Mother Goose, Smith said, “She was really unlucky in the Oaks. I still feel horrible, but I couldn’t do anything about it. She just got knocked down leaving there, and it was just unfortunate, because she would’ve made it a race.

“I’m not saying she would have won, but, man, that would’ve been a horse race. I’d like to have seen that, but I got really bothered twice. I thought it really hindered her chances, and to only get beat four lengths.”

She’ll get another crack at Monomoy Girl at a mile and an eighth on the Saratoga main track.

Other than the Kentucky Oaks, neither filly has run longer than a mile and a sixteenth.

“I’m super-confident with her,” Cox said. “I guess there was some [distance] question mark. Her pedigree suggests she’s a miler, but she showed when she made the lead at the quarter pole at Churchill, when she gets in front, she kind of gets lost.

“She likes to have another horse there. She’s not waiting for the other horse to come back to her, she just doesn’t like to leave them. I think it’s just the herding instinct they have. Even in the Acorn, it looked like she was going to win by many. Florent never hit her and didn’t have to do a whole lot with her.”

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3146 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

Categories: Sports

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