Trainer Freddie Head said Oct. 26 that Goldikova’s preparation for try at a record-breaking third successive victory in the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) is going smoothly.
“We haven't changed anything this year and had the same prep race,” Head stated. “It was even better this year as we won the Prix de la Foret, so for the moment all is well. I don't think she can do better than she is.”
The 5-year-old’s two previous wins in the BC Mile came at Santa Anita Park, whereas Churchill Downs hosts this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships. But Head is not worried by the change of venue, with Goldikova aiming to be the first horse to win the same Breeders’ Cup race three times on Nov. 6.
“Going to Churchill Downs this year does not change much; all the American tracks are about the same,” he said. “The weather may be a little cooler. I don’t want too much rain. They have been having a very dry spell there and I hope it lasts. Even if it does rain, the ground is not going to be as soft as it was at Longchamp the other day (for the Prix de la Foret on Oct. 3).
Based in France, The 11-time group/grade I winner is a homebred of the Wertheimer brothers, Alain and Gerard. Travel plans have been set.
“She is travelling to America on Saturday (Oct. 30). It takes 12 hours; she ships to Louisville or Lexington with a stop at Stansted to put the English horses on the plane. She is a very good traveler and does not sweat much.
“We had a very bad draw last year (post 11). We had ridden from the front in the Prix de la Foret and got beat and so I told Olivier (Peslier) to wait a bit with her. He was a bit further back (in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup) than we wanted, but that is the way races turn out. I was a little worried for sure; she was a long way behind the leaders in the back straight. But Olivier knew what he was doing.
“This year we led again in the Prix de la Foret but she did not fight with him; that was the big difference. She is very fast; she loves the speed. There is no doubt that is why she is so brilliant in the States because they start fast which we do not do here; the stalls open and everybody stops and holds back.
“The faster they go, the better she is and firm ground is good for her. She does a seven-furlong gallop every day; usually she goes out second lot at 9.30 a.m. or so. Her last good work will be on Thursday (Oct. 28) with Olivier but she does not need much; she is very forward in her preparation. She will then just tick over in America.
“The draw is going to be important in America. I don’t want Goldikova to be drawn on the outside again. It will be up to Olivier how he rides the race; you have to let jockeys do what they want.
Head knows a three-peat will not be easy.
“Paco Boy is a super horse; so tough and genuine. Gio Ponti, if he runs, will be the one to beat this year I suppose. He is a very good horse; second in the Classic last year. Proviso is a good mare; normally we have beaten her but she is at home over there now.”