THE five-year-old Goodnight Olive won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint last year, and this time she became just the second mare to defend that title.
Goodnight Olive is a daughter of the noted sire of females, the 2004 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper (Awesome Again), nine of whose 14 Grade 1 winners are fillies, Goodnight Olive was bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings.
Sold to Liz Crow for $170,000 as a yearling, she did not run at two, won two of her three starts at three, and it was not until she had won her first two outings at four that she was tested at stakes level.
What a test it was as connections chose the Grade 1 Ballerina Handicap at Saratoga which she won, and her next outing was last year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. Runner-up in the Ballerina Stakes this year, she did win at the highest level again before the weekend, landing the Madison Stakes at Keeneland, and her latest win took her earnings to almost $2.2 million. Her next outing was to face the auctioneer at Fasig-Tipton on Tuesday.
Ghostzapper is another Hill ‘n’ Dale stallion, alongside Curlin, and he has had his fee for 2024 set at $75,000, the third year it will have been at that figure. A look back at his fee history demonstrates quite vividly the vagaries of the business. Ghostzapper went to stud in 2006 at a fee of $200,000, and five years later it had plummeted to $20,000. His consistency at stud since then has seen it grow back to a high of $85,000.
Goodnight Olive is out of the nine-time winner Salty Strike (Smart Strike), and all but two of those victories were at stakes level.
Chief among her successes were wins in the Grade 3 Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs and a Grade 3 at Ellis Park. Bought then by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings for $800,000, she had just four foals, three of which ran and two were winners. Her only offspring not to race is the dam of a stakes-placed winner.
While this female line has thrown up plenty of stakes winners and performers in the first four generations, Goodnight Olive is by some way the best runner to appear.
Race Day, a multiple Grade 2-winning son of Tapit (Pulpit), in 2020 was exported to continue his stallion career in Korea. He previously stood at Spendthrift Farm, where he began his stallion career in 2016. Needless to say, he has now got his best runner, one of eight stakes winners he has sired.
The five-year-old White Abarrio will head to the Saudi Cup after he took his winning tally to seven, adding the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic to his 2023 win in the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes and last year’s victory in the Grade 1 Florida Derby. His rise to becoming the earner of $4.7 million is a heart-warming tale.
Bred by Spendthrift Farm, he sold for a mere $7,500 as a yearling, and as a two-year-old sold for a profitable, if still modest, $40,000. His breeders paid $475,000 for his dam as a yearling. She was Catching Diamonds (Into Mischief) and she ran three times without showing much. White Abarrio is her first foal and only runner to date.
Catching Diamonds’ half-brother Cool Cowboy (Kodiak Kowboy) was a multiple stakes winner in the USA and a dual Group 3 winning sprinter in the UAE. Another sibling, Appeal To The Win (Successful Appeal), was a stakes-placed winner in Canada, while a winning half-sister to Catching Diamonds, Downside Scenario (Scat Daddy), bred the Grade 2 winner and Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes-placed Mutasaabeq (Into Mischief).