Dirt Sprinters Goodnight Olive, Elite Power Take Home Eclipse Hardware

Breeders’ Cup Sprint champions in their races, both Goodnight Olive and Elite Power turned heads, as they rattled off a string of quality victories.

Goodnight Olive brought a salty four-race win streak into her stakes debut and then promptly reeled off two of the biggest Grade I prizes for female sprinters, making her a no-brainer choice for Eclipse champion female sprinter.

She debuted in 2021 with a runner-up finish in a Gulfstream maiden, then went to the sidelines for seven months, never to lose again. The dark bay reappeared at Keeneland’s 2021 fall meet with an 8 1/2-length maiden score, followed it up with a nine-length allowance win at Aqueduct, and then took another seven-month break. She hadn’t lost a step upon return this past June, smartly taking back-to-back allowances at Belmont and Saratoga by open lengths. Up against three Grade I winners, including reigning champion female sprinter Ce Ce (Elusive Quality), for her coming-out party in the GI Ballerina, Goodnight Olive was sent off at 5-1 but surged clear in the stretch to win with aplomb. Although lightly raced coming into the GI Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, she again overpowered her foes, sizzled to a 101 Beyer Speed Figure, and kept her 2022 season flawless. In addition to her Eclipse as female sprinter, she was also a finalist for older dirt female.

Trainer Chad Brown has said Goodnight Olive is much like her Horse of the Year sire, not necessarily touted for soundness, but certainly for brilliance. Steve Laymon, founder of co-owner First Row Partners, won his second Eclipse as he also co-owned Dayatthespa (City Zip), champion grass mare of 2014.

Goodnight Olive got some time off following the Breeders’ Cup and is gearing up for a 5-year-old campaign.

Early Impressions…
“A nice filly and a later-maturing type. We thought she would stand out in October and benefit from the additional time.” –John Moynihan, Stonestreet’s bloodstock advisor

“Goodnight Olive really stood out to me at Fasig October. She was on the final day of the four-day sale, but once we saw her early on we knew we had to wait patiently to try and get her purchased. She was a bit offset but had so much athleticism in the way she moved and a lot of class with some edginess. She was on the smaller side (not anymore), but being almost a May foal and by Ghostzapper she was big enough. She had just enormous potential and she has certainly lived up to all of our expectations and then some.” –Liz Crow, agent for First Row Partners

–Jill Williams

A winner of five of his last six starts in 2022, Elite Power topped off his season with a defeat of both MGSW & MGISP C Z Rocket (City Zip) and last year’s Eclipse champion Jackie’s Warrior (Maclean’s Music) in the GI Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Though he didn’t break his maiden until June, Elite Power went on a hot streak through the summer, working his way up the ranks with two wins against allowance company before stepping up in dominating fashion to take the GII Vosburgh S. at Belmont’s Aqueduct meeting by 5 1/4 lengths Oct. 8.

Drawn mid pack as a 5-1 shot behind heavily favored Jackie’s Warrior in the Sprint, Elite Power took his time early on under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., racing seventh as Super Ocho (Chi) (Dubai Sky) paced the field through tiring fractions of :22.12 and :44.99. Steadily advancing while three wide around the turn, Elite Power came running from the middle of the track to overtake the leaders with a sixteenth to run, hitting the wire 1 1/4 lengths ahead of his rivals.

“I had the perfect trip,” Ortiz, Jr. said of his Breeders’ Cup ride aboard Elite Power. “He broke real sharp and I let him settle. I let the speed go. I was able to cut the corner around the turn. When I tipped him out, he was there for me. He kept going forward. He gave me a really good kick from the quarter-pole to the wire. He’s a nice horse. I rode him with a lot of confidence.”

A $900,000 yearling for Juddmonte out of the Lane’s End consignment, Elite Power beat out another son of Curlin and Mott trainee in Cody’s Wish (Curlin) for the award. He remains in training for the 2023 season and most recently worked four furlongs in :48.80 (1/17) Jan. 25.

–Stefanie Grimm

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