Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Breeders' Cup Mile

The focus of the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Mile will clearly be on Goldikova, who is going for a historic fourth consecutive win in the race. The remarkable French-bred filly won the Mile in back-to-back runnings at Santa Anita prior to winning the race for a history-making third time at Churchill Downs last year. Goldikova’s win in the Mile last year is etched in my mind, as though I couldn’t see the finish very well from my seats, I stood on the tips of my toes to watch her cross the wire in front. Fortunately, I have better seats this year and hope to watch her cross the wire in front from a different angle.

1. Goldikova: She’ll definitely be the fan favorite as people watch in hope of seeing the mare win the race for the fourth year in a row. However, many worry that as a six-year-old, Goldikova is not as good as she used to be. The mare has only won twice in five starts this year, finishing second in the races she did not win. Nonetheless, the daughter of Anabaa is still extremely talented.

Coming off a close second place finish to gifted colt Dream Ahead, Goldikova recently arrived at Churchill Downs. Trainer Freddy Head believes his great mare is doing just as well as she ever has. Goldikova obviously knows what she’s doing, having won this race in its past three runnings. Though she drew the rail, it will be tough for her to lose.
2. Gio Ponti: Gio Ponti’s situation is somewhat similar to that of Goldikova. The bay is now six years old and though some people believe he’s not as good as he once was, the son of Tale of the Cat is still one of the top turf horses the nation. Coming off his second consecutive win in the Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (GI) at Keeneland, Gio Ponti is approaching the Breeders’ Cup with confidence. He was second in this race last year and I definitely wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish similarly this year.
3. Turallure: The striking gray winner of the Ricoh Woodbine Mile Stakes (GI) has raced over the Churchill turf course four times, winning once and never finishing out of the money. He is coming off two straight victories, the last in which he outran fellow Mile contender Courageous Cat. The son of Canadian Triple Crown winner Wando just may be underrated.
4. Courageous Cat: This blaze-faced five-year-old has only raced three times this year, but he has been very successful. He has won two of those three starts and most recently finished a close second to Turallure in the Woodbine Mile. He seems to be the “wise guy” horse and understandably so. The last time the son of Storm Cat had such good form, he finished second to Goldikova when she won this race for a second time. Courageous Cat is brilliant and will be very dangerous here.
Honorable Mention:
Mr. Commons: 
By 2005 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller, Mr. Commons is his best on grass. He won the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar prior to finishing second in both the Del Mar Mile Handicap (GII) and the Oak Tree Mile Stakes (GII). The John Shirreffs trainee is training extremely well and is improving, though the Mile will be very tough for him. Nonetheless, I would not be surprised if he hit the board.

Remember to like Past the Grandstand on Facebook and follow Past the Grandstand on Twitter! Links can be found on the right side of the blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment