Monomoy Girl's victory highlights return to racing at Churchill Downs

Racing returned to Churchill Downs on Saturday, after a layoff because of the coronavirus pandemic, and former Kentucky Oaks winner Monomoy Girl highlighted the 11-race card.

With new safety protocols in place, and no fans in the stands, Monomoy Girl won a one-mile allowance event in the fourth race on opening day of the 26-day spring meet.

Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Florent Geroux, Monomoy Girl sat just off the early pace of co-leaders Fashion Faux Pas and Talk Veuve to Me, eventually taking command at the top of the lane en route to an 2½-length victory.

"She gave us all the signs in the morning that she was ready," Geroux said of Monomoy Girl. "I think it is on to bigger things."

Monomoy Girl paid $3, $3 and $2.20 in "sloppy" conditions.

"I felt very confident when she came off the turn in front," Cox said. "It was a great race off the layoff. It was very positive seeing her be able to rate behind horses like that."

Nearly 1,000 trainers, jockeys and racetrack personnel were tested leading up to the races this week. And teams began admitting horses to the stable area on Monday.

Racing continues on Sunday.