Kentucky-breds Essential Quality, the champion 2-year-old male of 2020, and dual champion Monomoy Girl, both registered stylish victories in the first starts of their 2021 campaigns for trainer Brad Cox at Oaklawn Park.
Godolphin’s Essential Quality took down top prize in the $750,000 Southwest S. (G3) on Feb. 27. In his first start over a sloppy track, Essential Quality rolled home as much the best in the 1 1/16-mile Southwest, winning by 4 ¼ lengths under jockey Luis Saez.
The win, accomplished in 1:45.48, improved Essential Quality’s record to a perfect 4-for-4 for the homebred son of Tapit and raised his career earnings to more than $1.7 million. He picked up an additional 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard, giving him 40 points overall, good for third place on the leaderboard behind fellow Kentucky-breds Greatest Honour and Mandaloun. Essential Quality won last year’s Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) en route to championship honors at year’s end.
Following Essential Quality’s facile win on Saturday, his stablemate Monomoy Girl took center stage on Sunday, making her seasonal debut a winning one in the $250,000 Bayakoa S. (G3) on Feb. 28. The 6-year-old daughter of Tapizar comfortably dispatched five rivals, covering the 1 1/16 miles over a sloppy track in 1:45.92. It was the 14th win from 16 starts for the two-time Eclipse Award champion who has now banked more than $4.5 million. It was her first start since winning last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Keeneland, and she has now won six straight, dating back to 2018.
Acquired last year by Spendthrift Farm for $9.5 million at the Keeneland November Sale, Monomoy Girl races for Spendthrift Farm LLC, My RaceHorse Stable, and Madaket Stables and she was bred in Kentucky by FPF LLC and Highfield Ranch.