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Vinny from Real Dynasty Picks previews the 2023 Bed o’ Roses Stakes (G2) from Belmont Park, then gives his top picks & long shots. Can the 2022 Champion Female Sprinter Goodnight Olive bounce back following her 3rd-place finish in the Derby City Distaff Stakes (G1)? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
First Row Partners and Team Hanley’s reigning Champion Female Sprinter Goodnight OIive headlines a talented field of older fillies and mares in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Bed o’ Roses, a seven-furlong main-track sprint, at Belmont Park.
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Trained by four-time Eclipse Award-winner Chad Brown, the 5-year-old Ghostzapper mare was a perfect 4-for-4 last year, taking a pair of seven-furlong Grade 1s in the Ballerina Handicap at Saratoga Race Course and the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Keeneland on her way to Championship honors.
Goodnight OIive made her seasonal debut a winning one in the seven-furlong Grade 1 Madison on April 8 at Keeneland, but endured a troubled trip last out on May 6 at Churchill Downs in the Grade 1 Derby City Distaff when she lacked racing room while boxed in along the rail by returning rival Wicked Halo. The victorious Matareya got the jump to win the seven-furlong sprint by one length with Wicked Halo completing the exacta by one length over a frustrated Goodnight OIive.
Goodnight Olive has breezed back four times over Big Sandy, including a bullet five-eighths in 59.83 on Saturday. She had been under consideration for a pair of races on Belmont Stakes Day, including the 1 1/16-mile Grade 1 Ogden Phipps against fellow fillies and mares as well as being nominated to the Grade 1 Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap against males.
“She’s doing well and I’m glad we waited and gave her a little extra time,” said Brown, who won this event previously with Lewis Bay  and Separationofpowers . “We’ll run her seven-eighths, I think it’s the right move. She’s doing super. She had a nice strong work, which I really liked.”
A $170,000 purchase at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale, Goodnight Olive, who sports a ledger of 9-7-1-1 for purse earnings of $1,466,200, is out of the multiple graded-stakes winning Smart Strike mare Salty Strike.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. retains the mount from the inside post aboard Goodnight Olive, who won her lone start over Big Sandy last year when taking a seven-furlong optional-claimer in frontrunning fashion.
2023 Derby City Distaff Stakes Replay | Matareya Holds Off Wicked Halo, Goodnight Olive For Win
Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Kentucky homebred Wicked Halo [post 3, Jose Ortiz] boasts a record of 13-7-1-4 for purse earnings in excess of $1.1 million.
The 4-year-old Gun Runner grey, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, won 4-of-8 starts last year, capturing the Grade 2 Prioress at Saratoga and the Grade 2 Raven Run at Keeneland en route to a closing third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.
Wicked Halo, out of the graded stakes-winning Tapit mare Just Wicked, won the six-furlong Matron over a muddy and sealed track at Oaklawn Park on March 31 in her seasonal debut ahead of her Derby City Distaff effort.
Cash is King and LC Racing’s graded-stakes winner Dr B [post 4, Kendrick Carmouche] captured the Grade 3 Go for Wand over a sloppy and sealed main track on December 3 at Aqueduct Racetrack to close out her 2022 campaign.
Trained by Butch Reid, Jr., the 5-year-old Liam’s Map bay enters from a runner-up effort to returning rival Caramel Swirl in the Grade 3 Vagrancy, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares on May 14 here.
Dr B, who boasts a record of 17-5-6-2 for purse earnings of $383,690, was as close as second down the backstretch but faltered back to last through the turn as Caramel Swirl advanced with ease outside rivals and drew away to a 2 1/2-length score with a resurgent Dr B following her impressive rally.
Reid, Jr. said Dr B may have needed a start after returning from a five-month layoff.
“Maybe it was just the fact that she hadn’t run in a while and was getting used to her surroundings again,” Reid, Jr. said. “It was a strange race. She was laying up close and then got shuffled all the way back to last, but made a nice, wide run through the lane. Other than winning, it was a perfect comeback race for her.”
Dr B breezed back a half-mile in 48.93 Saturday over the Parx main track.
“She came out of it really well and had a nice breeze here last week. She’s just where we want her,” Reid, Jr. said.
Reid, Jr. said he is confident Dr B will improve enough to match Caramel Swirl, but admitted the presence of the reigning Champion Female Sprinter is a daunting one.
“We hope so, but there’s a lot more to deal with in this race,” Reid, Jr. said. “She’s doing really well and this is the perfect time and distance for her to race. We’ll see what happens – you have to take your chances.”
Godolphin’s Kentucky homebred Caramel Swirl [post 5, Junior Alvarado] has banked $588,450 through a record of 13-5-4-2 for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
The 5-year-old Union Rags bay made the grade in the 2021 Grade 2 Raven Run at Keeneland, but raced only twice last year, taking an optional-claiming sprint here ahead of a runner-up effort to Goodnight Olive in the Ballerina.
Caramel Swirl is out of the Smart Strike mare Caramel Snap, who is a half-sister to multiple Grade 1-winning multimillionaire Frosted.
Rounding out a talented field is Charles T. Matses’ graded-stakes placed Beguine [post 2, Javier Castellano] for conditioner Edward Allard.
The 4-year-old Kentucky-homebred daughter of Gun Runner won her Belmont debut last out on May 20, drawing off to a 9 3/4-length allowance score while traveling six furlongs over a sloppy and sealed main track.
Beguine, who sports a ledger of 9-2-3-1 for purse earnings of $280,303, was runner-up in both the 2022 Grade 3 Fantasy at Oaklawn and the Garland of Roses in December at the Big A. She is assigned 118 pounds, six pounds less than each of her four rivals.
The Bed o’ Roses is slated as Race 9 on Saturday’s 10-race card. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
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