Freddie Head knows all about winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT). He did so twice — as a jockey — with the filly Miesque in 1987-88.
This year, he’s back — as a trainer. And he appears to have a very good shot with the 3-year-old filly Goldikova, who could be the favorite when the field of 11 goes to the post Oct. 25 at Santa Anita Park.
If Goldikova wins, Head would become the first to win a Breeders’ Cup race as a jockey and a trainer.
“She has everything she needs to run well here — that’s the main thing,” Head said. “She has a lot of speed, she’s easy to ride, and she’s a real miler.”
Goldikova, an Irish-bred filly by Anabaa out of the Blushing Groom mare Born Gold, has made eight starts, seven at about one mile on the turf. Her worst finish — a third — came in the Prix de Diane (French Oaks, Fr-I) at about 1 5/16 miles.
Goldikova, owned by Wertheimer and Frere, has five wins, two of them in group I company. One win came against fillies, and her last start, against males and females in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (Fr-I), produce a victory.
How Goldikova fares on firm turf is a question, but Head said her efforts on good turf in Europe are an indication she should handle the Santa Anita course. Miesque, in 1987, had no trouble with the firm turf at Hollywood Park; she blew the doors off of a good field in course-record time of 1:32 4/5.
The Breeders’ Cup Mile has been good to horses that made their previous start in Europe. Last Tycoon won in 1986, Miesque in 1987-88, Royal Academy in 1990, Barathea in 1994, Ridgewood Pearl in 1995, Spinning World in 1997, Domedriver in 2002, and Six Perfections in 2003.
The Mile attracted three other horses bred in Ireland, but they have been based in the United States for some time: Daytona, Shakis, and Whatsthescript. Daytona is three-for-three on the Santa Anita turf and two-for-three at the mile distance; Shakis has done his best running at longer distances but finished a strong second in the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) in his last start; and Whatsthescript is two-for-three on the Santa Anita turf and four-for-five at the distance.