Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

“GOLD-ikova STRIKE!”

Posted by Brian Appleton on November 4, 2009

Print   Three more days and the Breeders Cup Championship races will be underway. Things kick off on Friday with the Breeders Cup Marathon, but the headline of the day will be the Breeders Cup Ladies Classic. In between you have a bevy of mouthwatering races that include the Filly and Mare Sprint, Filly and Mare Turf, Juvenile Fillies and Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Goldikova1

Goldikova

    I’m going to start with the $2 million Breeders Cup Mile, which will be run on Saturday, and the defending 2008 champ Goldikova. I have been following Goldikova much more closely this year after her incredible victory in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last year and have frequently searched and viewed pictures of her recent races. This afternoon I found a picture taken a few days ago of the champ and almost caught my breath. If pictures are worth a thousand words, then this one was practically screaming the return of Goldikova. She looked magnificent! There are many obvious points in her favor, the most obvious being that she has already won this race last year, and is once again in tip top shape. I’m a sucker for fillies, especially when they can hand it to the boys, and I love stories that herald the return of the champ, so needless to say I am rooting for her to win this one again. Drawing the outside post in the field of 11 She’s just about the only European I’m supporting in the entire Breeders Cup this year, and is one of four entered in the Mile. Gladiatorus, Delegator and Zacinto are the other three.

   Gladiatorus won the $5 million Dubai Duty Free in late March in an upset, then went four straight in defeat before finding the winners circle again last out in the Group 1 Premio Vittorio di Capua at San Siro, Italy. His latest victory was against much weaker competition but his trainer isn’t worried and is hoping that it served as a confidence booster for Gladiatorus. One thing that may be in his favor is the left hand turns at Santa Anita, the same as the turns in Dubai. His four consecutive losses all came on right-handed turns or staightways.

   English stakes winning Delegator is raced by Godolphin Racing. In August he won the Group 2 Celebration Mile before finishing second to last in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at prestigious old Ascot in September.

   The third European contender is Zacinto who has yet to win a grade 1 race and must take a major step up in class for this one.

   The American runners are led by grade2 winner Cowboy Cal and grade 1 winner Court Vision. Cowboy Cal has the

CowboyCalStrub_4Ben298

Cowboy Cal

speed to acquire the lead, the strength to sustain that speed, and the determination to hold onto that lead even in the face a head to head stretch duel. He also has the ability to rate just off the pace and fire when asked by the rider in the stretch. He could very well end up setting the pace here. He has proven extremely effective when given his own way on the lead in previous situations.

CourtVision1

Court Vision

 In post position 1 is Court Vision, winner of the Grade 1 Shadwell Mile at Keeneland. He is another one of those ultra consistent horses who never makes you nervous to include him in your top three. He usually sits right off the pace and will most likely be up close throughout the duration of the race, and in a good position to launch his bid when then enter the stretch.

   Another American runner, Justenuffhumor defeated Cowboy Cal in the Bernard Baruch

Justenuffhumor1

Justenuffhumor

 Handicap (gr.3) on the Saratoga turf in late August for his sixth consecutive win. He could certainly be able to spring a mild upset here if given a fair and clean run. Surprisingly he is listed at odds of 10-1 compared to Cowboy Cal’s 6-1.

   Karelian was defeated a mere nose by Cowboy Cal in the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr.1T) in October, a race in which favorite Justenuffhumor finished sixth. Goldikova is once again the favorite for the 2009 renewal.

   There is never a “sure thing” or a “guarantee” in horse racing, but if there was, Goldikova just might be both.

Some Breeders Cup Updates:

Zenyatta1

Zenyatta

 First and foremost is that Zenyatta will be taking on the boys in the Classic and has already been installed as the morning line favorite over the likes of European star Rip Van Winkle and American runners Einstein, Summer Bird, Gio Ponti and Colonel John. Finally we get to watch the undisputed, undefeated queen of American racing take on the best of the boys and prove her mettle. I have a feeling that she will emerge with her perfect record intact, and will show the world that she can handle not only the extra distance in the 1 ¼ mile classic, but also that she can run with the best of them…or should I say run away from the best of them.

   Second is the news that heavy Sprint favorite Zensational drew post position one, much to the dismay of his

Zensational1

Zensational

connections. It was the exact position trainer Bob Baffert had hoped to avoid. Cost of Freedom and Fatal Bullet drew positions two and three respectively effectively putting all three speed horses side by side. Zensational will have to go full-throttle from the moment the gates spring open to grasp the lead, and with two speed horses just outside him a taxing speed duel could easily ensue, creating a very fast pace for the closers to run into.

LookinAtLucky1

Lookin at Lucky

   Juvenile favorite and undefeated Bob Baffert trainee Lookin at Lucky drew the outside post thirteen for the race. Although Baffert said he is not as worried about that as he is about Zensational’s number one post position, you have to take it into consideration when choosing your winner. He will be attempting to become the first horse to win a 1 1/16 mile race from the 13 post since the synthetic track was installed at Santa Anita in 2007.

   In other news there has been a endless parade of works by contenders from every

Mine That Bird1

Mine That Bird

Breeders Cup division. Too many to go over them all, so I’ll just mention a few of the major ones. Kentucky Derby winner Mine that Bird had an “almost perfect” work according to Trainer “Chip” Woolley earlier in the week and is looking sharper coming into the Classic than he was for the Goodwood Stakes in which he finished sixth last out. Einstein had a fabulous work for trainer Helen Pitts and seems to be better than ever coming into the biggest race of his life. The way he has been working, looking and acting

CarelessJewel1

Careless Jewel

is, according to all accounts, exactly the way you would want a horse to be coming into the Classic against such a deep field. Careless Jewel also tested the Pro-Ride surface, looking spectacular according to bystanders. She appears to glide over any surface and is another that is coming into the Breeders Cup just when she seems to be peaking physically for the year.

   It’s only three days and counting, then the fun begins!

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5 Responses to ““GOLD-ikova STRIKE!””

  1. Steve m. said

    I tend to share your enthusiasm for Goldilkova, if for nothing else, the way she trounced the field last year in a cakewalk. 8/5 is nothing to write home about so gotta figure out who’ll run 2nd and 3rd to get any value out of this race. Of course, if someone wants to play against Goldikova they’ll find some nice value in the race. Good luck this weekend!

    • Exactly! There are some very high value horses this year, especially in the Filly and Mare Sprint, and Filly and Mare Turf. It’s so contentious and high class that there are too many standouts to choose from.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Hannah said

    =( I have no way to watch it…the website thing looked like i had to pay n it was weird. lol…i’m sure i’ll hear bout it on here!

  3. It is nice to see you posting on this topic, I have to book mark this site. Keep up the good work.

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