12/13/2008 12:00AM

Sweet Goodbye brings streak to final Ladies


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Chris Grove hopes to bid the Ladies Handicap a Sweet Goodbye on Sunday at Aqueduct when the historic stakes is run for the 137th and final time. The Ladies, first run in 1868 and won by such luminaries as Flower Bowl, Shuvee, and Top Flight will be eliminated from the New York Racing Association stakes schedule beginning in 2009.

Grove will start Sweet Goodbye in the $75,000 Ladies, hoping the filly can build on her impressive five-race winning streak. Eight were entered in the Ladies, but only seven will start as Weathered ran in Friday's You'd Be Surprised Stakes and will not run back.

The absence of Weathered from the Ladies could be important for Sweet Goodbye in that it takes a legitimate speed horse out of the field. Sweet Goodbye, a daughter of 1996 Preakness winner Louis Quatorze, has won her last three starts - including the Maryland Million Oaks and the Northern Dancer - in gate-to-wire fashion.

"The last time she ran, she was a little rank; she's still learning how to run, still learning to do what I want her to do," said Grove, who is stabled in Maryland at the former Bowie Race Course. "I'm a little concerned about that. I don't think a mile and quarter is going to bother her at all as long as she relaxes."

In an effort to get Sweet Goodbye to relax, Grove has worked her a couple of easy miles as opposed to sharper, shorter works. Juan D'Acosta rides Sweet Goodbye from post 4.

Grove hopes Sweet Goodbye has more success in New York than other multiple stakes winners he has shipped in. Grove won 12 stakes and $1 million with Silmaril, who ran fourth in two graded tries in New York. Lexi Star won five stakes but was fifth in the 2007 Next Move here.

The good news for Grove and Sweet Goodbye is the Ladies came up fairly weak. West Virginia shipper Julie B has won three in a row at Charles Town and will attempt to win her first race away from that track. Her trainer, George Yestook, has to hope somebody can soften up Sweet Goodbye early.

Runway Rosie, who scratched out of Friday's You'd Be Surprised Stakes, finished first or second in 5 of 6 inner-track starts last winter. She won the Rare Treat and was second in the Grade 3 Next Move, both at 1 1/8 miles.