Gabe Grossberg’s homebred OLIVIA ROSE got back to her winning ways with a front-running score in the $125,000 Fury Stakes at Woodbine on June 8, a race that historically begins the trail to the Woodbine Oaks. The seven furlong sprint had a field of seven and Manfred and Penny Conrad’s Lunch With Bernie, like Olivia Rose trained by Mark Casse, was made the tepid 5-to-2 favourite.

Olivia Rose, an Ontario-bred three-year-old filly by Silent Name (Jpn) out of Malibu Sunrise by Malibu Moon, broke well under Rafael Hernandez and went to the front while Sounds Practical pressed her from the inside briefly. The 4-to-1 chance shook loose from that rival after fractions of 22.23 and 44.23 and had two lengths on Sounds Practical past the quarter pole.

Lunch With Bernie was chasing in third, albeit several lengths back, while the others were being outrun.

Into the stretch, Olivia Rose was still clear by almost three lengths as longshot Red Samurai made a move three-wide off the turn and Lunch With Bernie was moving up the rail. Neither filly caught Olivia Rose, however, and she won by 4 3/4 lengths.

Red Samurai held second over Lunch With Bernie while the two best closers in the field were Bravo Kate, who finished well, and Stronach Stables’ Shamans Girl, who had broke slowly from the gate.

The final time was 1:22.63.

Olivia Rose was one of the fastest two-year-old fillies of 2023 when she put up an 88 Beyer Speed Figure when winning the South Ocean Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs on Tapeta in October. She had previously won her maiden by 13 3/4 lengths and had been second in the Victorian Queen Stakes on turf. The rangy dark bay faded in the 1 1/16 mile Princess Elizabeth Stakes, her final race of 2023, before heading off to Florida. In her 2024 opener, Olivia Rose dueled on the lead in an optional claiming race but faded to sixth as the heavy choice.

“I had to ask her a little bit that day,” said Hernandez. “She came up a bit flat. But Mark figured her out and look how she came back.”

It was a different Olivia Rose on Saturday.

This was his sixth stakes win for Grossberg, who has raced horses since 2001 and began breeding Ontario-breds about seven years ago. His horses are foaled at Glenn Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm. Grossberg is president and CEO of Delmar Gardens senior living facilities in St. Louis, Missouri.

Olivia Rose’s dam Malibu Sunrise has six named foals of racing age including $378,000 earner Meyer, who was second in the 2020 Breeders’ Stakes. Malibu Sunrise won 11 races in her career.

Whether Olivia Rose is a 1 1/ 8 mile Oaks contender in about five weeks is a big question, but Lunch With Bernie, Bravo Kate and Shamans Girl remain on the contenders’ list.

Three fillies in the last 20 years have won the Fury-Oaks double, including Moira in 2022.