News and STORIES
Monomoy Girl, Vexatious Face Off in La Troienne
Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Tuesday September 01, 2020
In July, Calumet Farm's Vexatious finished second at 14-1 odds in the Ruffian Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park. She crossed the wire just behind the heavily favored Monomoy Girl.
Now eight weeks later, the two are set to face off yet again, but with this outing having a lot more on the line. The race will be the Sept. 4 $500,000 La Troienne Stakes Presented by Oak Grove Racing and Gaming (G1) at Churchill Downs, an important event for the Breeders' Cup and Eclipse Award voting.
Monomoy Girl is owned by Sol Kumin through a partnership of his Monomoy Stables, Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Group, and Bethlehem Stables.
"Bring it on," Kumin said. "They have a nice filly in Vexatious."
Vexatious came out of her July 11 run against Monomoy Girl strong, and she went on to upset the field in the older female division. In what was a shocking finish to the Aug. 1 Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course, Vexatious coming in at 9-1 odds, beat the 3-10 favorite Midnight Bisou.
Midnight Bisou was the 2019 champion female.
Vexatious' trainer, Jack Sisteron, talked about resting the filly until the Oct. 4 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (G1) at Keeneland. However, she has been training so well that he decided to change it up.
"The way she has been acting, I wouldn't be doing my job as a trainer if I didn't run her for two months. We're letting her tell us where we should run her," Sisterson said. "She always gives you 100%, so if she's feeling well, why not?"
The 6-year-old Vexatious has won four of her 23 career starts, with her only other graded stakes win coming in the 2018 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes (G3).
According to Sisterson, her performance in the 1 1/16 mile test against seven other runners will determine if she runs in the Spinster. That outing could result in another matchup between her and Midnight Bisou.
"She's such a hearty filly, and the Giant's Causeway traits are coming out in her," Sisterson said. "We'll see how she runs in the La Troienne, but I wouldn't rule out running her in the Spinster."
Vexatious was bred by James Weigel and the Giant's Causeway Syndicate. She was purchased for $150,000 by the BBA (Ireland) from the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment at the 2015 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Trained by Brad Cox, Monomoy Girl was the champion 3-year-old filly in 2018. She was forced out of racing for 18 months due to a variety of ailments before returning on May 16.
The 5-year-old daughter of Tapizar scored an allowance optional claiming race at Churchill Downs and went on to beat Vexatious by two lengths in the one-turn mile Ruffian.
Monomoy Girl would have gone on to run in the Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) and the Personal Ensign, but her connections decided to take it safely.
"Both times there was a race three-to-four weeks after a start that could have fit her," Kumin said, "but Brad stayed patient and passed on them. His plan is to get her to the Breeders' Cup again, and he needs to remain patient."
Monomoy Girl has been training since the Ruffian, putting her in position to be the betting favorite. She has experience at Churchill Downs, winning the 2018 Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) and the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1), both of which were 1 1/8-mile distance.
Vexatious' only stakes run at Churchill Downs was a fourth-place effort in the 2017 Kentucky Oaks.
"She's been doing great," Kumin said. "Brad has been super happy after the last few breezes. He gave her plenty of time and spaced the races out and that's been the right move."
Tyler Gaffalione will have the call from post 2 for Vexatious, while Monomoy Girl and Florent Geroux will break from the outside post 8.
The rest of the field is set to include She's a Julie, Horologist, With Dignity, Saracoda, Risky Mandate, and Lady Kate.