Goodgirl Badhabits opens eyes with flashy wins

Already with a slew of good horses and her first Grade 1 winner in the barn, trainer Brittany Russell has another exciting prospect on her hands in Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister’s undefeated 3-year-old filly Goodgirl Badhabits.

The daughter of Mastery continued to impress her connections with another popular, eye-catching optional claiming allowance victory Saturday at Laurel Park, a front-running 10 ¼-length triumph at odds of 1-5. Despite swerving right at the break, she was quickly in front under jockey Jevian Toledo and soon gone, completing seven furlongs in 1:24.47 over a main track rated good while in hand.

Her win came seven weeks and two days following her impressive debut run at Laurel, where she overcame a bobbled break to power home by 12 ¾ lengths, again in gate-to-wire fashion, in 1:05.39 for 5 ½ furlongs.

“I’m really excited about her. I’ve been excited about her since the first few times I breezed her,” Russell said Sunday. “The day we debuted her, I couldn’t wait to run her. For her to train well in between the maiden run and follow it up again with a convincing effort like she did yesterday, it just solidified everything that we thought about her. There’s never been a day we didn’t love her.”

Goodgirl Badhabits was bred in Kentucky and is a half-sister to Dazzling Gem, who ran third in both the Sir Barton at historic Pimlico Race Course and Louisiana Derby (G2) as a 3-year-old in 2016 and captured the Clasico Jose Celso Barbosa Memorial (G1) in Puerto Rico as a 6-year-old in 2019.

Purchased for $135,000 as a yearling at Keeneland in September 2021, Goodgirl Badhabits went unraced at 2 before joining Russell’s Laurel string. She has earned $63,600 in her two starts.

“I didn’t have her in the barn as a 2-year-old,” Russell said. “I think she was ready to come in and then she had a little setback on the farm, so they took care of her and gave her some time. Since she’s been back in, she’s been such a pleasure.”

Goodgirl Badhabits
Goodgirl Badhabits won an allowance at Laurel Park. Photo Jim McCue.

Though circumstances led to the time between starts being longer than planned, Russell and the connections have no designs to rush into anything with Goodgirl Badhabits as they explore her options going forward.

“I always had the Miss Preakness in the back of my mind. I thought she was that kind. It was just sort of the timing,” Russell said. “I didn’t want to run her back in four weeks when the first allowance came up and they ended up canceling and they brought the race back. We had to sort of wait for this race. She’s a nice filly and she deserves time in between if we’re trying to develop her and move forward into bigger races. It worked out just fine.

“You won’t see her back in three weeks or anything for the Miss Preakness, but there’s a lot of good races coming up. There’s some races in New York we’re going to probably take a look at,” she added. “I think ultimately we want to get her back to the racetrack, make sure she trains as good as she did before the race, and we need to determine if we want to try her a little further or keep her short. That’s another thing we have to decide.”

The $150,000 Miss Preakness (G3) for 3-year-old fillies sprinting six furlongs May 19 is among 16 stakes, nine graded, worth $3.6 million in purses over Preakness weekend at Pimlico highlighted by the $300,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles, also May 19, and 148th Preakness Stakes (G1), Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, May 20.