Photo of Goodnight Olive by Courtney Snow for Past The Wire
Breeders’ Cup Press Release
~ Chad Brown
~ Jay Hanley
~ Steve Laymon
THE MODERATOR: Goodnight Olive in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. We have trainer Chad Brown and one of the members of the ownership group from team Hanley, Jay Hanley.
First of all, congratulations. Irad Ortiz runs the next race we won’t have him. We’re joined by Steve Laymon, also part of the ownership group First Row Partners.
Chad, Goodnight Olive, she broke very sharp but then let the speed go. Take us through the trip.
CHAD BROWN: We had a plan in the paddock to, she normally breaks pretty well in her races and obviously Irad knows her really well to give her a nice run-up. Looks like there was plenty of speed signed on, even with the one scratch.
She really worked out the trip, we thought. We thought three to four horses ahead of her. We wanted to be close. Looks like this track can play a little more for a forward horse, so we didn’t want to take too many chances having her too far back.
Irad executed it perfectly. And the filly showed up once again. So pleased with her race. And I’m so appreciative for the owners here you’ll get to in a moment, the patience.
There’s been more bad phone calls than good ones with this horse since she came in at 2, I can promise you that.
A couple different times she’s had to stop, and she doesn’t run often. But like I said in a previous interview, when she does run, she lets everybody know she’s there. For a horse that’s only won once in her life, a remarkable record.
THE MODERATOR: That was her first start, and then she broke her maiden right here in Keeneland. You’re definitely mentioning her setbacks but took your time moving her into stakes company and then right into a Grade 1 when you did make that jump in the Ballerina. What was the thought process with developing her along the way?
CHAD BROWN: With all the stoppages and such we really utilized her allowance conditions and tried to develop her not throw too much too soon at her. I think that’s why she does have this almost flawless record is just taking it step by step with her.
And, again, the owners, I can’t say enough good things about this group. When I always came up with a plan, it was never questioned or there was never a rush to throw her on the stake races, thinking she’s on borrowed time. Let’s put her in a Grade 3 or something. They always listened to my advice and counsel on the situation. And that’s a big reason why we’re here today.
THE MODERATOR: It’s worked out well. I’ll get to the ownership now. Steve Laymon, Jay Hanley, congratulations. So, Steve, just tell me a little bit about the partnership that you put together. And as Chad mentioned, the time and confidence in this filly to bring her to this point.
STEVE LAYMON: Thank you. We’re so privileged to have a group of guys that — most of my guys have been in the horse business along the way. But about five years ago, one of my partners that sits next to me, in the first row at Saratoga, leaned over and said, I want to do horses with you.
So, I brought two groups together. There’s six of us that make up First Row Partners. I have partners from California, Montana, but Saratoga is our common ground. And we have a wonderful group of guys. And Chad got to know those guys.
I was fortunate enough to be with Chad at the very end of his days with Frankel. And I was lucky enough to win a Breeders’ Cup in 2014 with Day at the Spa. There’s one common thread with Goodnight Olive and Day At the Spa, and it’s this guy here. Special, special trainer. If there’s a target, he’ll find it. This was our plan probably too long ago.
THE MODERATOR: As you mentioned, having patience, and, Jay, just kind of take us through the ups and downs with her to get to this special day here in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
JAY HANLEY: She started off her career well. She came in, for her, a disappointing second in her first race, her only loss. I believe that was at Gulfstream. Then she came here, broke her maiden. She basically reeled off four wins in a row now. I guess it’s six in a row now. Wow, we made it six today. Isn’t that great.
But her last race at Ballerina, obviously a Grade 1, Chad had the confidence to put her in there. The race before that was a three other than at Saratoga that we kind of had to go to. We were put in a stake two weeks before that three other than, or a week before the three other than that actually didn’t go. They couldn’t fill it. I think everybody was afraid of us.
CHAD BROWN: That was the word on the back stretch.
JAY HANLEY: We went to the three other than, and Chad masterfully — I mean he and his staff masterfully have handled this filly from day one. To get her to those allowance races, to get her here — and obviously training out of the Ballerina, they did an amazing job.
So, all thanks really to Chad and his staff for getting her here. Maybe giving a nod to the Breeders’, Stonestreet and also a big nod to Liz Crow who helped Steve and I pick this horse out at the Fasig October sale.
Q. Chad, this shows obviously every race she seems to be getting better and better. Do you think this is her best race yet or can you tell from the performance?
CHAD BROWN: Certainly, it looks like it’s her best race or matched that at Ballerina. Going into the race we thought if she could just run the race back at the Ballerina, looking at the speed figures that came out of it, and in the manner in that she won, she wouldn’t really have to do better than that, I didn’t think.
And that was another part of the reason I didn’t choose to run the horse from Saratoga until now. That was a very strong race. I figured it wouldn’t take any more than that to win this race, and why try to squeeze another race in and maybe set her back. Especially a horse that has proven to be a bit fragile. And I’m just happy the plan came together.
We spaced out her races; and back to your original question, I think at a minimum she matched that Ballerina race, which was really the strategy.
THE MODERATOR: And with the Ballerina being a Breeders’ Cup win and you’re in, you knew you were guaranteed a spot?
CHAD BROWN: Yeah.
STEVE LAYMON: And such good horses we beat. That’s what makes me proud of this filly. Is you look at the two champions in that field we beat today.
And I think one of my partners counted, there were 18 stakes winners in the Grade 1. Total stakes wins for those horses. Just amazing how accomplished she’s become in such a short time.
THE MODERATOR: So, what’s next?
STEVE LAYMON: Probably a little break. Mr. Brown has taught me patience. He’s taught me patience before this horse. And it took a long time, but it really works. He’s the master at picking a target, giving these horses time, and finding the right spot.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll see her next year?
STEVE LAYMON: Sure. Sure.
JAY HANLEY: She’s not for sale.
STEVE LAYMON: In fact, I just saw my insurance agent; I think I’m going to have to make a call.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports