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San Gabriel/Santa Ynez
Goldikova and jockey Olivier Peslier in the winner's circle.
The $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) is a 1 mile trip around two turns of the Santa Anita turf course for older horses. A field of 11 faced the starter, with 3-hyear-old filly Goldikova sent off as the 9-5 favorite exiting a win against males in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, after winning the Prix Rothschild at Deauville. In to challenge the Freddy Head trainee included 2007 Mile winner Kip Deville at 4-1, coming off a disappointing 5th place finish in the Woodbine Mile after winning the Poker Handicap, and 9-2 third choice Whatsthescript, the main local hope, winner of the Del Mar Mile and American Handicap.
Goldikova starts to draw off in the stretch with Kip Deville on the outside moving up for second.
22-1 Thorn Song went to the front and was allowed an uncontested lead of 1 1/2 lengths first time past the stands and around the clubhouse turn through fractions of 23.00 and 46.52 while being stalked by both Goldikova to his inside and 10-1 Daytona to his outside. Turning for home, Thorn Song continued to lead as Daytona tired and dropped from contention. 13-1 Precious Kitten, who sat just behind the pace battle, moved up to gain a short lead in mid-stretch, but Goldikova found room between horses to shoot through inside the 1/8 pole, pulling away in the final 1/16 to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Kip Deville in 1:33.40. It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to late-running Whatsthescript third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 4 Goldikova Peslier 5.60 4.00 2.80 2 Kip Deville Velasquez 4.80 3.40 11 Whatsthescript Gomez 3.40 Winning Time: 1:33.40 $1 Exacta 4-2 13.60 $1 Trifecta 4-2-11 47.60 $1 Superfecta 4-2-11-3 302.20Results chart
Right: Owners Alain and Gerard Wertheimer hold up the trophy next to trainer Freddie Head and jockey Olivier Peslier. Head said, "The only time she's been beaten was it was very heavy that day, first time this year. She had other excuses, but she got beat that day when the ground was very soft. I know the only thing she wants is speed. She's very fast. Loves the speed. That's why she does well here. They set off a good gallop and they go. It's not always the same in Europe or in France, and that is the kind of race she likes. That's why I think she wants fast ground and fast to go. I mean, she wants to run in 1:33 or 1:34, then she's at her best. This is the first time in her life that she's been turning on a left-hand track, and she just adapted to that so easy."
Left: Goldikova returns after the race. Winning owner Alain Wertheimer said, "It feels great, Kotashaan was great, because it was the first one we had. And Hog Wild was an unbelievable filly. It's the type of filly you get once in a generation, and this one could be the same. Except if it had been a major problem, we have decided to keep her in training next year."
Right: Olivier Peslier celebrates while the Wertheimer brothers, Alain and Gerard, lead Goldikova to the winner's circle. Peslier said, "I know last year she's very good. I finished third in the French Oaks. But it's a little far (1 5/16 miles). Anyway, when she ran the mile, she's a really good filly, and she's a champion. Has a nice heart, nice mentality, and she's very strong, she's like a colt. For sure for next year, if she's still like this, for sure next year she is better. She started well. After that, I stay just behind the lead. If nobody goes, she takes the lead. She can win in the front, behind, whatever."
Left: Second place finisher Kip Deville heads out to the track before the race. His jockey Cornelio Velasquez said, "He ran his race the best he could. We were in good position, running very strong coming down the stretch, but that filly was just better than us today. He ran all he could." His trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. added, "I was happy as I can be with our horse. He ran the race of his life, it looked to me. We tip our hat to the filly. She's a freak. We feel like we won but he's probably not happy he got beat, I'll tell you that."
Right: Third place finisher Whatsthescript returns after the race. His jockey Garrett Gomez said, "I had a pretty good trip around there until the running started. He wasn't helping me a whole lot. He wanted to lug in with me a little bit. When I finally got him out from behind horses, he didn't want to switch leads. I don't want to say I would have beaten those horses today, but he was his own worst enemy. He might have run third anyway. (In the first turn) I wanted to have a couple of them outrun, but from the 11-hole, with a couple of them shoved up in there that I thought I would be in front of, I didn't want to force him to be up there and be 3 or 4-wide around the first turn. I'd rather be last and be on the fence saving ground and start to make my run when I can."
Left: The horses break from the gate for the 2008 Breeders' Cup Mile.
Right: The horses pass by the first time in the Mile with the scenic backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains behinds them.
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