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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.

Santa Anita cancels racing after heavy rain inundates track

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Santa Anita has canceled its eight-race card because of wet weather after 3+ inches of rain dropped on the Southern California racetrack in three days.

Officials at the track in Arcadia say heavy overnight rains and more rain throughout the day Thursday made it necessary to cancel. They say the track will make every effort to reschedule the races in the immediate future.

Track superintendent Andy LaRocco says an additional 2 inches of rain was forecast for Thursday.

Live racing will resume on Friday with eight races.

Kentucky Derby purse up to $3 million

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Derby’s purse will be raised to $3 million this May, an increase of $1 million and the first boost in 14 years.

Churchill Downs said Thursday the winner of the 145th running will receive $1.86 million. The runner-up will earn $600,000, with third place worth $300,000, fourth place $150,000 and fifth place $90,000.

The Derby purse had been $2 million since 2005 and $1 million from 1996-2004.

Track President Kevin Flanery attributes the increase to more bettors using historical racing machines – the electronic form of parimutuel betting – at a recently opened facility near the track.

The second and third legs of the Triple Crown offer total purses of $1.5 million in the Preakness and Belmont stakes.

The purse for the Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on May 3 was raised by $250,000 to $1.25 million. It had been worth $1 million since 2011 and was worth $500,000 from 1996-2010.

Churchill Downs also increased purses for some races on the Derby Day undercard on May 4.