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Monomoy Girl is early Kentucky Oaks favorite

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Monomoy Girl is the early 2-1 favorite for the Kentucky Oaks, but has a challenging run from the No. 14 post position in the marquee race for three-year-old fillies.

Monomoy Girl drew the No. 14 post Monday and is one of three Brad Cox-trained entries in Friday’s $1 million race at Churchill Downs. Monomoy Girl has five wins and a second in six career starts. She won the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on April 7.

2018 Kentucky Derby: How to Watch, Post Time, Horses and More

Cox clearly would have preferred a better draw in the 144th Oaks. Florent Geroux will make his sixth consecutive start aboard Monomoy Girl, who has won her past two races by a combined eight lengths.

“It is what it is. It’s horse racing,” said Cox, whose other Oaks fillies are Kelly’s Humor and Sassy Sienna. “Monomoy Girl is a good filly, and good horses overcome things. She’s ready to run.”

Midnight Bisou is the 5-2 second choice and will start from the No. 10 post. Trained by Bill Spawr, she is going for a fourth straight graded stakes win in 2018 beneath Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, including the Santa Anita Oaks.

Co-owner Jeffrey Bloom believes Midnight Bisou is in the “perfect” spot.

“We weren’t overly concerned about the post position,” he said. “We didn’t want to have the 1 or the 2, didn’t really want to have the extreme outside. I think it’s a great opportunity for Mike Smith to be able to get comfortable in terms of letting the horses come out of there and seeing how the race unfolds.”

Twelve other fillies drew double-digit odds in the 1 1/8-mile race. My Miss Lilly (No. 11 post) is at 10-1 while Coach Rocks and Chocolate Martini are at 12-1 and starting from the second and fourth posts.

Sassy Sienna drew the rail and is 15-1 with Classy Act, Rayya, Take Charge Paula and Eskimo Kisses. Wonder Gadot is 20-1, with Kelly’s Humor, Heavenhasmynikki and Patrona Margarita at 30-1.

22nd horse suffers fatal injuries at Santa Anita

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ARCADIA, Calif. – A filly broke both front legs at the end of a workout on the main dirt track at Santa Anita and was euthanized on Thursday, becoming the 22nd horse to suffer catastrophic injuries since Dec. 26.

Trainer and owner David Bernstein said the 3-year-old filly named Princess Lili B broke down just past the finish line after a half-mile workout.

Bernstein told KTLA-TV that Princess Lili B apparently took a step as she changed leads, which led to her breaking her left ankle and then her right ankle. A lead change refers to which set of legs, left or right, leads or advances forward when a horse is galloping.

“She was always very sound and we’ve never had a problem with her,” Bernstein said in the interview. “We didn’t have to train her on any medication. She’s just a lovely filly to be around.”

Bernstein said the filly’s exercise rider didn’t indicate any problem with the dirt surface.

“I think it’s one of those things that happens, sadly enough,” the trainer told KTLA.

Bernstein said he wouldn’t hesitate to train another horse on Santa Anita’s surface again.

“I know they’ve done the best job they can possibly do,” he said. “They’re hired a number of great experts to handle this surface.”

Santa Anita had reopened its main track for limited workouts on Monday, with horses limited to jogging and galloping while the surface was monitored for any irregularities that may have caused the deaths of 22 horses since the winter meet began on Dec. 26.

This week’s workouts were the first conducted under the track’s new training protocols, which include two veterinarians observing each horse going to and from the track.

Santa Anita resumes limited training on main dirt track

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Training resumed on Santa Anita’s main dirt track, with horses limited to jogging and galloping while the surface is monitored for any irregularities that may have caused the deaths of 21 horses since December.

Track consultant Dennis Moore says everything went well Monday morning. He says all the testing data supports the decision to allow limited training while racing remains suspended indefinitely.

Moore says if all continues to go well with limited training, timed workouts could resume in the next couple days.

The inner training track has been reopened for timed workouts, with 133 horses being officially clocked for working out at distances ranging from two to six furlongs.

Santa Anita officials say a return to live racing is expected “in the near future.”