Future is Bright for Lightly Raced Filly Goodgirl Badhabits

Trainer Russell: ‘No Doubt That She’s Going to be a Stakes Winner’

LAUREL, MD – Her comeback race successfully out of the way, it’s on to bigger and better things for talented but lightly raced 4-year-old filly Goodgirl Badhabits.

Owned by Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister and based at Laurel Park with leading Maryland trainer Brittany Russell, Goodgirl Badhabits kicked off Preakness weekend in style with a head-turning six-length triumph May 16 at historic Pimlico Race Course.

It was the first race in 343 days for Goodgirl Badhabits, whose prior start saw her finish eighth behind eventual 3-year-old filly champion Pretty Mischievous in the Acorn (G1) last June at Belmont Park, her stakes debut.

“She’s been working really good,” Rusell said. “Honestly, I was just looking at the [condition] book thinking, ‘We need a spot,’ so everything just worked out really good. She’s been training great. I think she’s better mentally. She’s bigger, she’s stronger, I think she’s holding her weight better. She’s just real good.”

By Mastery, a California-based colt that was undefeated in four starts with three graded-stakes wins including the 2016 Cash Call Futurity (G1), Goodgirl Badhabits breezed once at Laurel following the Acorn before going to the sidelines. She returned to the work tab in early February with Russell’s string at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. and had eight timed moves ahead of her return, the last three at Laurel.

Russell’s husband, champion jockey Sheldon Russell, was aboard for Goodgirl Badhabits’ comeback, replacing the filly’s regular rider, Jevian Toledo, who is recovering from a collarbone injury suffered April 21 at Laurel.

“Nothing major, we just felt like she needed some time after that race [in the Acorn]. Physically she’s great. Sheldon didn’t know her because Toledo had been on her [but] he’s been on her breezing in the mornings. She has a little tendency to get out, so that’s one thing in the morning we have to manage, but she’s such a lady about everything else,” Russell said. “She’s just a cool filly. In the paddock [before the race] she was just standing there like a puppy dog [while I’m] putting the tack on. I’m like, ‘Wake up!’”

Sent off at 9-5 in a field of six for the six-furlong optional claiming allowance – her first time facing older horses – Goodgirl Badhabits broke alertly and quickly opened up a 3 ½-length lead after a quarter-mile in 24.08 seconds. She dropped down to the rail, opened up around the turn while under a light hold, and went the half in 47.04.

Goodgirl Badhabits straightened for home with a six-length lead and, with Sheldon Russell peeking back to check on the competition, rolled home under a hand ride to win in 1:12.21 over favored Night Cap.

“It’s always been Toledo’s filly. She sort of came into the barn when I was off injured, and he’d really done nothing wrong. He kept her and did all her work,” Sheldon Russell said. “It was hard for me to sort of take over because it was his filly, but I’ve spoken to Toledo. She’s the type of filly that’s all business in the morning. She’s extremely fast. She’s almost too fast for herself.

“I feel like she’s come off the layoff better than ever,” he added. “She was really nice and relaxed. The only problem we had with her last year was she was always that first step slow and she would always get herself in a huge rush. Then when they get off slow and you sort of nudge them, she was doing too much. But she broke good [this time] and I was able to just sort of leave her alone. It still feels fast but she’s just a high-speed filly.”

Russell had been up for each of Goodgirl Badhabits’ two most recent works, both bullet five-furlong breezes, the latest coming May 4, helping him become more acquainted with the power and acceleration she put on display in her comeback race.

“That’s sort of how she is in the mornings. She runs away from the pole pretty fast, she gets to the turn, she takes a little break and then she goes in the stretch. I’ve had a few problems pulling her up,” he said. “I was a little worried because I knew she was way in front and I was trying to shut her down before the competition got to me because I was scared she was going to re-break. We’re very happy to have her back in the barn. Hopefully she stays healthy and we can have some fun with her.”

The connections will sit down to discuss the next step for Goodgirl Badhabits, whose three wins in four career starts have come by a combined 29 lengths. Upcoming dirt stakes in Maryland for fillies and mares 3 and up include the $100,000 Alma North sprinting 6 ½ furlongs July 28 and $100,000 Caesar’s Wish going 1 1/16 miles Aug. 4.

“I have no doubt that she’s going to be a stakes winner,” Brittany Russell said. “We’ll see where we’re going next.”

Goodgirl Badhabits was the second of two May 16 wins for Russell, who ran a total of 19 horses on the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) and Preakness (G1) Day programs with two wins, three seconds and three thirds including a victory in the $100,000 Skipat with Apple Picker and a third with Prince of Jericho in the $200,000 Chick Lang (G3). For good measure, she also won with her lone starter at Delaware Park last Saturday.

In a pair of bonus incentives offered to horsemen by the Maryland Jockey Club, Russell earned the top prize of $25,000 for results in non-stakes races and $7,000 for having the fourth-most points in stakes races.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email