Goodnight Olive capped off her year (and perhaps her career) in style on Saturday at Santa Anita, winning the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) for the second straight year.
The five-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper started as the 11-10 favorite and left no doubt about her superiority. Under a perfect ride from regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr., Goodnight Olive settled behind the leaders as Eda and Society dueled for the lead through splits of :22.29 and :44.86, rallied to a decisive advantage in midstretch, and easily held safe a sustained bid from 26-1 longshot Yuugiri to prevail by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:22.97.
“Beautiful trip. She was there for me every time I asked,” said Ortiz, who was winning the Filly & Mare Sprint for the fourth time. “She gives me confidence. I knew I was on the best horse. She did it again.”
It was practically a carbon copy of Goodnight Olive’s 2 1/2-length triumph in the 2022 Filly & Mare Sprint. That victory earned Goodnight Olive the title of champion female sprinter at the 2022 Eclipse Awards, a title she’s likely to defend after compiling a 5-3-1-1 tally in 2023 bolstered by victories in the Madison (G1) and Bed o’ Roses (G2).
“It’s very satisfying,” said winning trainer Chad Brown. “She trained perfect her last two works. Really beautifully. When she broke good and got behind Society, which I was really happy to see because we knew she was the second choice in the race and really fit on paper. If we could find her, she was going to take us at least to the quarter-pole. And I said to Irad, it’s likely that other horses will be tired around you at that point and when she got outside of her, she was able to put the race to bed. Rarely does ‘Plan A’ go into effect and actually finish all the way through. That was our plan and Irad executed it perfectly.”
Three Witches, an improving 34-1 longshot, rallied from half a dozen lengths behind to snatch third place. Society faded to finish fourth, while Kirstenbosch, Clearly Unhinged, Eda, Matareya, and Meikei Yell completed the order of finish.
Bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings and owned by the partnership of First Row Partners and Team Hanley, Goodnight Olive is slated to be sold at Tuesday’s Fasig-Tipton November Sale. Assuming she is retired to become a broodmare, she’ll retire with a 12-9-2-1 career record, good for earnings of $2,196,200.