Breeders’ Cup Repeats Few and Far Between

by Greg Melikov

posted on October 27, 2011 in Breeders Cup, General Discussion, Horse Racing | No Comments >>

Goldikova Wins 2010 BC Mile

Repeat winners are exceptional in Breeders’ Cup races. Most rare is one fabulous thoroughbred aiming to break her record of three straight victories in the BC Mile next month.

Goldikova should have an edge returning to Churchill Downs, where she defeated Gio Ponti by 1 ¾ lengths last time. A fourpeat for the 6-year-old exactly a year later on Nov. 5? Not out of the question since she has been whipping the boys for years.

A couple of other distaffers came oh-so-close to repeating last year. Midday fell a neck short to Shared Account in the BC Filly & Mare Turf.

In the most heartbreaking defeat, Zenyatta lost to Blame by a head in the BC Classic, while trying to repeat in the same race and going undefeated in her 20th career race.

However, I agree with quite a few racing experts that the strongest Classic field in history gathered at Churchill Downs in ’98.

The 10 horses included Coronado’s Quest, winner of the Wood Memorial, Travers and Haskell, who sprinted to the lead from the break, but never was in front by more than a length for the first mile.

Pressing the pace in second for six furlongs was ’97 Classic champ Skip Away before fading to sixth. Silver Charm, the ’98 Dubai World Cup winner that captured the previous year’s Preakness and Belmont, advanced to second with a quarter-mile to go.

When they turned for home, traveling fastest of all was Awesome Again, victorious in the ’98 Stephen Foster and Whitney. The son of Deputy Minister split horses in the stretch nearing the wire and prevailed by a length.

Silver Charm, who had gained a narrow lead entering the stretch, drifted wide, but held on for second by a neck over English champ Swain. A nose back in fourth was Victory Gallop, who captured the ’98 Belmont, while Coronado’s Quest faded to fifth.

There have been only eight repeat winners in the same BC race during the past 27 world championships.

In addition to Goldikova, four came in the 21st Century: Tiznow, ’00-01 Classic; High Chaparral, ’02-03 Turf; Midnight Lute, ’07-08 Sprint; and Conduit, ’08-09 Turf.

Goldikova won the BC Mile in ’08 by 1 ¼ lengths and repeated in ’09 by a half-length, both times defeating 10 challengers on a firm Santa Anita Park grass course.

She’ll be coming into this $2 million race with a less stellar record across the Atlantic than the previous two years: Two victories and three seconds. Her record in ’10 beyond the ocean was four wins and a second in five outings.

On Oct. 2, the daughter of Anabaa lost by a head in the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp in Paris, wrapping up the European portion of her celebrated career. She captured the ’10 Foret and finished third in the ’09 race.

But don’t count the grand lady out in the BC Mile. Fourteen of her 17 triumphs have been in Group 1 contests. She has only finished off the board once while running second six times and third twice.