The wins just keep on coming for champion female sprinter Goodnight Olive, who kicked off her 2023 campaign Saturday with a one-length victory in the $580,000 Madison (G1) at Keeneland.
Returning to the scene of her Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) triumph last November, Goodnight Olive circled the dueling Society and Yuugiri approaching the stretch, opened up a three-length lead in midstretch, and held safe a belated bid from Maryquitecontrary.
“It worked out perfect. I sat right behind the speed, let her do her thing, and she did the rest,” jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said.
Owned by First Row Partners and Team Hanley, Goodnight Olive sped seven furlongs over a fast track in 1:23.12 and paid $2.74. Irad Ortiz Jr. was aboard for trainer Chad Brown. Maryquitecontrary, who saw a five-race win streak snapped, finished 4 1/4 lengths ahead of Cotillion (G1) winner Society. Cocktail Moments and Yuugiri rounded out the small field.
After running second in her debut a little more than two years ago, Goodnight Olive has now won seven in a row. She is 3-for-3 in stakes, all Grade 1s, having notched her first black type in the Ballerina H. (G1) at Saratoga last August.
Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet, Goodnight Olive is five-year-old by Ghostzapper and out of multiple Grade 3 winner Salty Strike, by Smart Strike.
Another Breeders’ Cup winner from last fall also returned to the winner’s circle Saturday, though Turf Sprint (G1) heroine Caravel had to dip much deeper to repel the aptly-named Bad Beat Brian by a head in the $319,094 Shakertown (G2).
Under Tyler Gaffalione, the six-year-old mare led throughout while keeping her head in front of the 40-1 runner-up for the final three furlongs or so. On a turf rated good, Caravel covered 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.58.
Owned by Qatar Racing, Marc Detampel, and Madaket Stables, the Brad Cox-trained Caravel returned $6.30 as the 2-1 favorite. Bad Beat Brian finished a half-length in from of second choice Arrest Me Red.
This was the 11th career stakes win for the Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Mizzen Mast. Five have been in graded company, and also include the 2021 Caress (G3) and 2022 editions of the Intercontinental (G3) and Franklin (G3).
Papilio rallied erratically but successfully to win the $338,600 Appalachian (G2), a one-mile grass test for three-year-old fillies, by a neck over Cairo Consort.
Making her second U.S. appearance following a head second in last month’s Herecomesthebride (G3) at Gulfstream, Papilio prevailed in a time of 1:36.32 under Javier Castellano. Heavenly Sunday finished a length behind Cairo Consort in third, while 2.21-1 favorite Pleasant Passage finished fifth in her first start since capturing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
Owned by D. J. Stable, Medallion Racing, Barry Fowler, and Parkland Thoroughbreds, Pailio paid $13.98.
“She has an amazing turn of foot. If she ever learns to run a straight line, who knows how good she is?,” trainer Mark Casse said. “I think once she ‘gets it’ around here she’s going to be very tough.”
An Irish-bred daughter of Starspangledbanner, Papilio finished second in the Churchill S. against males at Tipperary last August but went unplaced in two Group appearances prior to her importation.
Casse said Papilio would likely reappear in the $500,000 Edgewood (G2) at Churchill Downs on May 5.
Here Mi Song, who had never competed in a graded stakes prior to Saturday’s $300,000 Commonwealth (G3), prevailed by a neck after a long stretch duel with Hoist the Gold in the seven-furlong dash for older horses.
Ridden by Alex Achard for owner-breeder Nathan Hayden and trainer Billy Stinson, Here Mi Song returned $25.60 after completing the course in 1:23.42. Hoist the Gold finished 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Get Her Number, while 1.82-1 favorite Run Classic weakened to fifth in the field of 10 after setting the pace.
A Kentucky-bred by Cross Traffic, Here Mi Song had placed in three of six prior stakes appearances. His best finishes had come at Turfway Park, where he placed second in the 2022 Big Daddy S. and in the Forego S. on Feb. 4.