01/09/2010 1:00AM

Sweet Goodbye takes What a Summer

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Sweet Goodbye got her year off to a winning start at on Saturday, coming from just off the pace to register a one-length victory in the $62,600 What a Summer Stakes at Laurel. In the process, she likely earned herself a start in next month's Barbara Fritchie Handicap there.

After a half-mile went in 45.88 seconds, What Summer, with J.D. Acosta riding for trainer Christopher Grove, moved up to challenge around the turn. She took the lead at the top of the stretch and went on to win, as a rally by Royal Michele was good for only second. Cuvee Uncorked, who had led at the half-mile point, was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third.

Sweet Goodbye covered the distance in 1:11.02 and paid $14.40 to win.

Sweet Goodbye has now won 8 of her 12 races, including five stakes. Acosta called the What a Summer "a great place to prep for the Fritchie,'" which Grove said "has been the plan" for Sweet Goodbye since last fall.