From The Bloodhorse:
With a nearly spotless record and two back-to-back victories in grade 1 company, First Row Partners and Team Hanley’s Goodnight Olive became a shoo-in for an Eclipse Award as the champion female sprinter of 2022.
Tension was high Nov. 5 of last year as a field of 12 took to the Keeneland main track while crowds watched eagerly to see if Ce Ce could retain her title in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) and subsequently her title as champion.
As the final turn came and went, it was not destined for the Bo Hirsch homebred, who landed in fourth as the leaders whooshed past the wire, including Goodnight Olive, who continued to pick up speed in the stretch to command the victory 2 1/2 lengths ahead of her challengers.
Still riding the high of the win, Chad Brown, who trains the 5-year-old mare, told a story of setbacks which were overcome on her journey to the World Stage.
“There’s been more bad phone calls than good ones with this horse, I can promise you that,” he said.
Though the mare may have only amassed seven starts thus far, her only loss was her first time out in a 2021 maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park. She made up for the uninspired run many times over and has not lost a race since, including the 2022 Ballerina Handicap (G1) at Saratoga Race Course which her connections say gave them assurance to run her at Keeneland two months later.
“When she started off her career, she came in a disappointing second, her only loss. She came here (Keeneland), broke her maiden, and rolled off six wins in a row,” said Jay Hanley of Team Hanley. “The Ballerina, obviously a grade 1, Chad had the confidence to put her in there.”
Brown added his sentiments saying, “That was a very strong race and I didn’t think it would take any more to win (the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint)… especially with a horse that’s proven to be fragile.”
Purchased by Liz Crow for First Row Partners at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale for $170,000 from the Summerfield consignment, the daughter of Ghostzapper has now earned more than $1 million for her connections.
She was bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings out of the ultra-successful Smart Strike mare Salty Strike who racked up wins in the 2011 Dogwood Stakes (G3) and 2012 Gardenia Stakes (G3) along with numerous other victories in stakes company. Goodnight Olive is her third foal.