Goodnight Olive Shines In Breeders' Cup Filly And Mare Sprint - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Goodnight Olive Shines In Breeders’ Cup Filly And Mare Sprint

Goodnight Olive wins the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Keeneland.

Last fall, Goodnight Olive earned her first career victory in a maiden special weight Keeneland Race Course. In the year that followed, the 4-year-old Ghostzapper filly has never lost a race, and she returned to Keeneland victorious on Saturday with a convincing victory in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

Goodnight Olive broke alertly under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., and settled in behind early leaders Slammed, Edgeway, and Lady Rocket. Slammed, whose connections paid a $200,000 supplemental fee to enter the mare in the race, set an opening quarter-mile time of :22.10, while being tracked closely on the outside by Edgeway.

Slammed and Edgeway drew even heading into the turn, setting a half-mile time of :44.89, while Goodnight Olive loomed within striking distance behind them in a group that also included Wicked Halo looking for room on the inside and Lady Rocket on the outside.

Slammed relented her lead heading past the quarter pole, and Edgeway briefly put a head in front at the top of the stretch, but Ortiz quickly blew past the early leaders aboard Goodnight Olive, and was clear by the three-eighths pole.

Champion Echo Zulu, who broke from the outside post, was next to Goodnight Olive at the head of the stretch, but she could not keep up, and carried on for second, 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner. Wicked Halo, stablemate to Echo Zulu, finished a length behind her in third after being stuck on the rail for most of the trip.

“[Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr.] was very frustrated with how wide she was, how much ground she gave,” trainer Steve Asmussen said about Echo Zulu's trip. “At this level, credit to the winner. She ran well. Sometimes the spot you want is taken.”

Pacesetter Slammed faded to last in the field of 12, while Edgeway finished seventh. Ce Ce, last year's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner, ran five-wide and improved her position late to finish fourth.

“Up the backside, I was very pleased with where she was at; looked like she had some daylight to her outside,” said Michael McCarthy, trainer of Ce Ce. “Very comfortable. From the three-eighths pole to about the quarter, [Jockey Victor Espinoza] said the track just wasn't to her liking. She was kind of spinning her wheels around the turn. Straightened for home and got her face clean and came running again. She's always been a little track-sensitive. She's six, she's an Eclipse Award champion – obviously it's a huge feather in our cap to have someone like her three, four, five and six years old, as good as she was. Breeders' Cups are always tough. She didn't embarrass herself today.”

Goodnight Olive stopped the clock in 1:21.61 over a fast main track during the seven-furlong race. She paid $5.70 to win as the post time favorite.

Lot of speed in the race,” said Ortiz, who has ridden Goodnight Olive in all but one of her career starts. “She broke on top, but I didn't want to rush her. When she's on her game, she can do anything. I've ridden her and I knew that. I just took my time. I was able to get her out at the top of the stretch and the rest was all her.”

Trainer Chad Brown saddled Goodnight Olive for owners First Row Partners and Team Hanley.

The Filly and Mare Sprint was Brown's 16th career Breeders' Cup victory as a trainer, and his second in the Filly and Mare Sprint, following Wavell Avenue in 2015. Ortiz tallied his 15th Breeders' Cup winner, and his third in the Filly and Mare Sprint, following Bar of Gold in 2017 and Shamrock Rose in 2018 It was the first Breeders' Cup win for the either half of the ownership group.

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Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Goodnight Olive is out of the multiple Grade 3-winning Smart Strike mare Salty Strike. Goodnight Olive was a $170,000 purchase by First Row Partners, with Liz Crow acting as agent, at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale. She was consigned by Summerfield, agent.

After winning a Keeneland maiden special weight last October, Goodnight Olive's winning streak has extended to six races. She competed exclusively in New York allowance-level races for most of the previous year, before jumping up to graded stakes competition in August for the Grade 1 Ballerina Handicap at Saratoga Race Course, which she won by 2 3/4 lengths. She trained up to the Breeders' Cup at Keeneland from that start.

Brown said Goodnight Olive's career had a stop-start pattern due to various minor ailments, but her talent when she made the races was apparent.

“There's been more bad phone calls than good ones with this horse since she came in at two, I can promise you that, Brown said. “A couple different times, she's had to stop and she doesn't run often…When she does run she lets everybody know she's there.

“With all the stoppages and such, we really utilized her allowance conditions and tried to develop her not throw too much too soon at her,” Brown continued. “I think that's why she does have this almost flawless record is just taking it step by step with her. And, again, the owners, I can't say enough good things about this group. When I always came up with a plan, it was never questioned or there was never a rush to throw her on the stake races, thinking she's on borrowed time. Let's put her in a Grade 3 or something. They always listened to my advice and counsel on the situation. And that's a big reason why we're here today.”

Steve Laymon of owner First Row Partners said Goodnight Olive would likely be in line for some time off following the Breeders' Cup.

“Mr. Brown has taught me patience,” he said. “He's taught me patience before this horse. And it took a long time, but it really works. He's the master at picking a target, giving these horses time, and finding the right spot.”

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