Daily Racing Form: Eskimo Kisses Hoping To Step Out From Shadows In Alabama

Monomoy Girl left her Saratoga barn shortly after 5:45 a.m. Wednesday to begin her trip back to Kentucky, where the four-time Grade 1 winning 3-year-old filly will be based for the remainder of the summer. There is no truth to the rumor that Ken McPeek drove her to the airport.

McPeek is the trainer of Eskimo Kisses, who has been beaten handily by Monomoy Girl – who will make her next start in the Grade 1 Cotillion on Sept. 22 at Parx – in three successive starts. On Wednesday, Eskimo Kisses was one of eight 3-year-old fillies entered for Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga.

“We’ve run behind her every time,” McPeek said. “She’s pretty tough. My filly tries hard every time, but it seems like there’s been five or six lengths separation.”

Eskimo Kisses was beaten 5 1/2 lengths when second to Monomoy Girl in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland in April. She finished 4 3/4 lengths behind Monomoy Girl when fourth in the Kentucky Oaks. Most recently Eskimo Kisses was beaten 8 1/2 lengths by Monomoy Girl in the Coaching Club American Oaks here on July 22. That followed a 79-day layoff.

“We were hoping for a third or better,” McPeek said. “We gave her a pretty extended layoff. I really felt like she was going to need the race, but I was really using that race as a prep for this one. There wasn’t a huge expectation coming off the break.”

In addition to not having to face Monomoy Girl, McPeek is also looking forward to running Eskimo Kisses 1 1/4 miles on Saturday.

“She’s going to love the mile and a quarter,” McPeek said. “I think she’s made for a mile and a quarter.”

McPeek has named Jose Ortiz, winner of last year’s Alabama aboard Elate, to ride Eskimo Kisses on Saturday.

Midnight Bisou, who twice has finished in front of Eskimo Kisses, will likely be favored in the Alabama. She won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks and Grade 2 Mother Goose, and most recently finished second to Monomoy Girl in the CCA Oaks. Mike Smith, who won the 2016 Alabama on Songbird, will be back in town for the ride.

Also entered in the Alabama were Auspicious Babe, Coach Rocks, Figarella’s Queen, She’s a Julie, Talk Veueve to Me, and Piedi Bianchi, a supplemental entrant from the barn of Todd Pletcher.

This story originally appeared on DRF.com

Visit DRF.com for additional news, notes, wagering information, and more.

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