Goldikova Draws Rail in Quest for Fourth Mile
An audible groan went up from the table of traveling lads from France at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships post-position draw when it was announced three-time Mile (gr. IT) winner Goldikova had drawn the rail for the 2011 edition Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.
For the past two renewals of the Mile, Goldikova had drawn far outside and still prevailed, but the rail is usually seen as a risky proposition, requiring rider Olivier Peslier to navigate through traffic at some point in the two-turn race.
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Traveling lad Thierry Blaise, who has worked for trainer Freddy Head four years, said after the draw the connections were actually happy with the inside draw and much preferred it to starting from outside.
“We hope to give her her head early on and let her get a good start,” Blaise said. “She has traveled here very well, as usual. She is our queen.”
Goldikova has already made history by becoming the first three-time Breeders’ Cup winner, and will be seeking to set the bar higher with a win in this year’s Mile, for which she was made the 7-5 morning line favorite.
Gio Ponti comes back for a return engagement against Goldikova, having finished second by 1 3/4 lengths to her a year ago. It will be Gio Ponti’s fourth Breeders’ Cup event. He was second to Zenyatta in the Classic (gr. I) in 2009 and was unplaced in the Juvenile Turf a year earlier
Gio Ponti is the second choice at 4-1 on the morning line.
Courageous Cat , who has finished second to Goldikova, is back for another crack at the mare. Courageous Cat, second in Goldikova’s 2009 Mile at Santa Anita Park, will leave from post 3 and is 8-1 on the morning line.
Another intriguing entrant is Turallure, who won the Woodbine Mile (Can-IT), defeating Courageous Cat by a neck Sept. 18 for Kentucky-based trainer Charles Lopresti. Turallure also won the Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT) this summer at Saratoga. He is also 8-1 on the morning line and leaves from post 13.
As for the Europeans other than Goldikova, Byword drew the 8 post. Last year’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Eng-I) victor is coming off a group II win at Longchamp Oct. 10 and races as a homebred for Juddmonte Farms under the tutelage of Andre Fabre. He is 12-1.
Zoffany will start in the 2 post next to Goldikova. Zoffany had a dull outing at Keeneland Oct. 8 in the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT), but is a group I winner in Ireland, having won the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes last year for trainer Aidan O’Brien and the Coolmore syndicate of owners Michael Tabor and Susan Magnier.
Speedy Sidney's Candy will help assure a strong early pace in the Mile from the 10 post. He does his best running on the lead and is likely to be forwardly placed.
Another who figures to be up on the pace is Get Stormy , who has been ultra-consistent lately and was just beaten a half-length by Gio Ponti in the Shadwell Mile.
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