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Goodnight Olive won the 2023 Madison Stakes (G1) at Keeneland in her 1st start since winning the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) over the same course & distance. Should trainer Chad Brown keep her sprinting, or can she be as successful routing? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
First Row Partners and Team Hanley’s Goodnight Olive, the Eclipse Award-winning champion female sprinter of 2022, returned in style with a 1-length victory over Maryquitecontrary in the 22nd running of the $600,000 Madison (G1) for fillies and mares Saturday afternoon at Keeneland.
Also capturing graded stakes victories were Papilio (IRE) in the 35th running of the $400,000 Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association for 3-year-old fillies; Caravel in the 27th running of the $350,000 Shakertown (G2) for 3-year-olds and up; and Here Mi Song in the 36th running of the $300,000 Commonwealth (G3) for 4-year-olds and up.
In the Madison, Goodnight Olive covered the 7 furlongs on a fast main track in 1:23.12 and gave trainer Chad Brown his third victory in the race. Brown’s other wins came with Paulassilverlining in 2017 and Guarana in 2020.
Society and Yuugiri dueled for the early lead through fractions of :22.53 and :45.93 with Goodnight Olive just off the leading duo. On the turn, Irad Ortiz Jr. sent Goodnight Olive after the leaders and she easily swept to the lead by the time the field hit the homestretch.
In the lane, Goodnight Olive put away Society then widened her cushion to 3 lengths at midstretch and had enough to hold off a late bid from Maryquitecontrary to post her seventh consecutive victory and third Grade 1.
Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) here last fall in her most recent start, Goodnight Olive is a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Ghostzapper out of the Smart Strike mare Salty Strike. The victory was worth $372,000 and increased Goodnight Olive’s earnings to $1,391,950 with a record of 8-7-1-0.
Goodnight Olive returned $2.74, $2.14 and $2.10. Maryquitecontrary, ridden by Luca Panici, returned $4.20 and $3.08 and finished 4¼ lengths in front of Society, who paid $2.16 to show under Florent Geroux.
It was another 5¾ lengths back to Cocktail Moments, who was followed by Yuugiri.
2023 Kentucky Derby
“She always breaks good. I talked to (trainer Chad Brown and said) I wanted a good pace in front of me. She can go either to the lead or come from off the pace. I saw they had more speed than me, but I know the first couple jumps she’s going to break good. So I let them go to get a strong pace in front of me, so I would be able to take back without fighting too much and get in the clear earlier. It worked out perfect. I sat right behind the speed, let her do her thing, and she did the rest.”
Comparing this race in her first start of 2023 to her championship year in 2022
“She’s been so nice every time since I’ve gotten on her. She’s a nice filly. The trainer and the whole team did a great job bringing her back. The last time she ran was in the Breeders’ Cup last year (winning the Grade 1 Filly and Mare Sprint Nov. 5 at Keeneland) and they did a great job bringing her back ready. Great teamwork.”
“She ran excellently. We were against a champion. For a moment I thought that I had it, but there’s no complaints. She ran huge. I’ve known this filly from day one, and I was pretty confident in her.”
“I went to the lead. Honest fraction, nothing crazy. I got outkicked by the winner. She (Goodnight Olive) came to me very easily at the quarter pole and just went on. My filly tried hard and she kept on going to finish third. She was no match for the first two.”
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