Sent off as the 9-5 favorite, Wertheimer & Frere’s Goldikova closed along the rail in the stretch to win the Oct. 25 Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) (VIDEO) by 1 1/4 lengths over another closer, Kip Deville.
Ridden by Olivier Peslier for trainer Freddie Head, Goldikova stalked the early pace of longshot Thorn Song, who got the first quarter mile in :23 flat. The lead was unchanged down the backstretch, and Thorn Song continued to set the pace through a half-mile in :46.52, while being followed by Daytona and Goldikova. As the field entered the stretch, covering six furlongs in 1:10.07 and seven furlongs in 1:22.10, Thorn Song and Daytona began to be overwhelmed by closers as Goldikova picked up the pace and went to the front along the rail, and Kip Deville also closed late to finish second.
A daughter of Anabaa, European challenger Goldikova was undefeated in her previous three starts in French group races. Head became the first person to win a Breeders' Cup World Championship race as a jockey (Miesque, 1987-88) and now as a trainer.
The only 3-year-old and one of two females in the 11-horse Mile field, Goldikova paid $5.60, $4.00, and $2.80. Kip Deville finished second, paying $4.80 and $3.40. It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to third-place finisher Whatsthescript, who paid $3.40.
“After a nice trip, just before the last corner, I was waiting for a chance, when that hole opened she jumped up and just kept going,” Peslier said. “She's very good. I've won a lot of big races with her.”
“She’s a wonderful filly,” said, the former French champion jockey and son of legendary French trainer Alec Head. “She’s in the same class as Miesque (who won the Breeders’ Cup Mile in 1987 and 1988 with Head aboard). She was a little backward before, but now she’s in the same league as Miesque.”
The Mile was the third Breeders’ Cup victory for owner-breeder Wertheimer and Frere, the nom de plume of Alain and Gerard Wertheimer. Wertheimer & Frere also won the 1993 Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) with Kotashaan and the 2003 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) with eventual champion Halfbridled.
Goldikova's sire Anabaa was the champion older horse in France and a group I winner in England. Her dam, the winning Blushing Groom mare Born Gold, was also bred by the Wertheimer brothers. In addition to Goldikova, the 17-year-old mare has produced group III winner Gold Round, the dam of stakes winner Spectaculaire, and French group III winner Gold Sound.