Sensational filly Goldikova defended her TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) title in scintillating fashion Nov. 7 at Santa Anita Park, as she stormed down the lane under Olivier Peslier and caught longshot Courageous Cat inside the sixteenth-pole before going on to a half-length win (VIDEO).
An Irish-bred daughter of Anabaa, Goldikova became the fourth repeat winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The champion mare Miesque was the first in 1987 and 1988, followed by Lure in 1992 and 1993, and Da Hoss in 1996 and 1998. A homebred of Wertheimer and Frere, Goldikova is trained by Freddy Head, who rode Miesque to victory in her two Breeders’ Cup wins and is the only person to score World Championship victories as both a jockey and trainer.
“She’s very special,” Head stated. “It’s been a long season and now to make this long trip in November. We haven’t discussed her future; maybe we’ll come back and try for three.”
Goldikova’s win was not nearly as easy as it was in 2008 when she raced close to the pace before exploding for a 1 1/4-length victory. This time, the 4-year-old broke from post 11 and was taken back off the pace by Peslier while Karelian sped through an opening quarter-mile of :22.98. Goldikova was still second from last against her 10 male rivals after Gladiatorus sprinted to a half-mile in a rigorous :45.22. Whatsthescript and Cowboy Cal were also close to the pace.
Cowboy Cal was ahead just after the quarter-pole, but it was Courageous Cat, mid-pack through the backstretch, who was going best of all, and the 3-year-old Storm Cat colt hit the front when they straightened away. Under Garrett Gomez, Courageous Cat had a 1 1/2-length advantage with a furlong to go and was still going strong in upper stretch.
But Goldikova was getting closer now, just about three lengths back at the eighth-pole and full of run from the center of the turf course. The bay filly picked off the other three rivals in front of her and had her sights set on Courageous Cat. She caught her with about 100 yards to go and went on for the historic win.
The final time over firm ground was 1:32.26. Courageous Cat was a length in front of third-place Justenuffhumor and Alan Garcia. Court Vision was fourth.
“The draw (post 11) wasn’t a big help,” Pelsier said. “I didn’t want to make a run until the last turn. I came wide because that was the only place to go. She’s lovely. She won last year; she won this year. I’m so glad for my owners that they have a filly like this.”
Goldikova, who earned the Europeans their third win on Breeders’ Cup Saturday, concluded her long championship-caliber season with four wins from six starts. She won three group I races in a row earlier in 2009 and entered the Breeders’ Cup off a tough, half-length defeat in the Total Prix de la Foret (Fr-I) Oct. 3 at Longchamp.
Goldikova upped her record to 9-2-2 from 14 starts and bumped her earnings to just over $3 million.
Sent off as the 7-5 favorite, the winner paid $4.80, $4, and $2.60. Courageous Cat returned $12.80 and $8, and completed a $54.60 exacta (11-6) for $1. The $1 trifecta (11-6-10) was $705.30.
Delegator finished fifth, followed by Karelian, Ferneley, Whatsthescript, Gladiatorus, Cowboy Cal, and Zacinto.
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 18-year-old mare has produced group III winner Gold Round, the dam of stakes winner Spectaculaire, and French group III winner Gold Sound.