While Midnite Lute became the first repeat winner of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) a year ago, and Tiznow remains the only horse to garner two Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) victories, the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) has led the way among all divisions with three multiple winners, a number which could very well climb to four this season.
Goldikova, among the most brilliant performers during last year’s event at Santa Anita when she captured the Mile by 1 1/4 lengths over defending champion Kip Deville in 1:33.40, returns to the scene of her flying finish and will certainly be favored to repeat, possibly joining Miesque, Lure, and Da Hoss as dual winners of the Mile.
Doubters will point to Goldikova's third-place finish in her most recent effort Oct. 3 in the Prix de la Foret (Fr-I), but she was beaten just a half-length in that seven-furlong contest. The 4-year-old Anabaa filly, trained by Freddy Head, has won a trio of group I tests at a mile this season, and is going to take some beating if she is to be upset at Santa Anita Nov. 7.
European invader Zacinto, a 3-year-old Dansili colt racing as a homebred for Juddmonte Farms, has flashed the type of brilliance that could threaten Goldikova. Zacinto was most recently second to Rip Van Winkle in the Queen Elizabeth II (Eng-I), finishing ahead of Delegator, who defeated him in the Totesport.com Celebration Mile (Eng--II) in his previous race. Zacinto, trained by Michael Stoute, has plenty of upside, and Delegator rounds out the top three from across the pond.
Domestic form for the Mile is a little tricky, given the rains in the East and Midwest that have caused European-like conditions that almost certainly will bear no resemblance to the firmness anticipated for the grass course at Santa Anita. So although Court Vision shortened up to win the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. I) at Keeneland, the course was a swamp, the winning time was 1:38.68, and the scene changes dramatically at the Breeders’ Cup.
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Backers of Justenuffhumor will throw out his subpar Shadwell for those reasons. Other interesting domestics include the ultra-game Cowboy Cal, who took the local prep for the Mile, the Oak Tree Mile (gr. IIT), in a game performance over versatile Global Hunter and last year’s third-place Breeders’ Cup Mile finisher Whatsthescript.
Ferneley followed up his Del Mar Mile Handicap (gr. IIT) win with a solid second behind Ventura in the Woodbine Mile (Can-I). Another interesting runner is 3-year-old Courageous Cat , a full brother to multiple grade I grass winner After Market. Courageous Cat will be cutting back in distance from his nine-furlong win in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (gr. IIT) at Saratoga.