The Breeders Cup Mile will have added meaning this year as champion mare Goldikova tries to take the event for a record fourth time. Can you remember the last horse to win it before her? It was Kip Deville. She beat him in his title defense to get her first triumph in the race. I’m greatly looking forward to watching her compete on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
Let’s break down the field.
Goldikova (Anabaa x Born Gold by Blushing Groom) What can I say about this brilliant mare that hasn’t already been said? She’s the best thing out there, period. She’s won twice from five starts this year and finished second on three occasions. Her losses came to incredible horses like Canford Cliffs, Immortal Verse and Dream Again. No shame in losing to them. Some say she has lost a step, which could be true. However if she is 90% horse she was in 2010 then she should whack this bunch. The rail could be difficult, but great horses do great things. She will overcome it.To be the best you have to beat the best and this is the one they will have to take down. I wish the field good luck; they’re going to need it.
Zoffany (Dansili x Tyranny byMachiavellian) Not sure what happened last out in the Shadwell Mile where he was never competitive. His claim to fame is running second to Frankel in the St. James Palace Stakes. I’m not sure he is good enough to compete here.
Courageous Cat (Storm Cat x Tranquility Lake by Rahy) He has popped a 100+ Beyer Speed Figure in 5 of his last 6 races. Those races include a win in the Shoemaker Mile two back and a runner up effort in the Woodbine Mile last out. Patrick Valenzuela will have him near the front where he thrives. I really wish he had one more race, but despite that he will be among the top contenders in this spot.
Mr. Commons (Artie Schiller x Justabout by Apalachee) Three-year-old was firing hard in the lane of the Oak Tree Mile, but couldn’t catch Jeranimo. He got a huge 106 Beyer Speed Figure for that race and if he can reproduce it he is a win contender. However, I’m thinking the figure is a bit inflated and he can’t do it again.
Gio Ponti (Tale of the Cat x Chipeta Springs by Alydar) It was nice to see him break through with his first win of 2011 last out when he took win honors in the Shadwell Mile. He finished second in this race last year. The Christophe Clement trainee is a warrior and getting his first win in a Breeders Cup race would be a great way to end his career.
Get Stormy (Stormy Atlantic x Foolish Gal by Kiri’s Clown) New York trainer Thomas Bush has this one training like a bear. He’s raced well all year and owns wins in the Makers Mark Mile and Turf Invitational over this track. Garrett Gomez will ride the horse for the second time and his mount will be live.
Jeranimo (Congaree x Jera by Jeblar) This horse is kind of like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You never know if you’re going to get the good Jeranimo or the bad Jeranimo. The good one, who came out last out in the Oak Tree Mile, would be a top contender here. The bad one; well not so much. I’m willing to say he brings his A game this time and that means you need to consider him at a price.
Byword (Peintre Celebre x Binche by Woodman) Was last seen winning the Group 2 Prix Dollar at Longchamp. Andre Fabre trainee is 0 for 2 against Goldikova in Europe. I don’t see why he’s going to be able to beat her now.
Court Vision (Gulch x Weekend Storm by Storm Bird) He’s a brilliant miler when on his game, but recent races suggest he is over the hill.
Sidney’s Candy (Candy Ride x Fair Exchange by Storm Cat) Now with Todd Pletcher, his MO is still the same. He needs a soft pace to win and he’s not likely to get one. Even if he did, he’s facing vastly superior horses. I cant see him winning.
Strong Suit (Rahy x Helwa by Silver Hawk) Three-year-old has finished behind Zoffany twice. If I cant like Zoffany then I’m going to have a hard time liking Strong Suit.
Compliance Officer (Officer x Purple Hills by Dynaformer) What a feel good story. Claimed for $25k at the end of 2010, he has reeled off five consecutive wins since. Three of those wins came in NY bred Stakes races. He blasted away powerfully last out to win by five lengths in the Mohawk. As much as I want to like him, it’s very hard. He’s facing much higher caliber animals todays. It’s going to take something crazy for him to win.
Turallure (Wando x Personal Allure by Wekiva Springs) I love trainer Charles Lopresti. He is one of the best in the game at what he does. Jockey Julien Leparoux isn’t too shabby either. They hooked up to win the Woodbine Mile last out and before that he beat a deep field in the Bernard Beruch at Saratoga. He’s got a big shot to win the Breeders Cup Mile.