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Goldikova Back With A Bang


Goldikova (l) does her winning thing

Last year, Goldikova finished seventh in the Prix d’Ispahan, her yearly debut; it seemed that the extra furlong and soft going were not to her taste.  There were no such questions this year – the 5-year-old mare set a new stakes record in the same race, capturing her eighth G1 victory.  It was a narrow margin, to be sure, over the up-and-coming Byword, but the rest of the field (including Stacelita, who may need to regain some conditioning) was some distance back.  While a threepeat in the Breeders’ Cup Mile is her goal this year, her next race could be nearly as starry – she is being pointed to the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, potentially taking on Paco Boy and Rip Van Winkle.

While the Breeders’ Cup is a long way away at this point, other Europeans to keep an eye on were in action last weekend – 3-year-old Richard Hannon-trained Canford Cliffs was impressive in the Irish 2000 Guineas, while Ballydoyle has another strong group of colts, headed by Jan Vermeer (impressive winner of the Gallinule Stakes) and St Nicholas Abbey. The 3-year-old filly ranks look equally strong (or, perhaps, stronger – at least, in France) with the green-but-promising Sarafina just besting Deluxe in the Prix Saint-Alary.  Both fillies may head to the Prix de Diane in June – and we may see one or both of them in the Breeders’ Cup at some point.

Given the somewhat scattered picture our own 3-year-olds paint, perhaps more overseas horses will consider heading to Churchill Downs this year – why not take the opportunity to show it can be good breeding and a lack of medication that win big races, rather than an affinity for Santa Anita?  I’m of the opinion that the track surface played a smaller role than widely assumed in the European domination of the last two Breeders’ Cups, and would love to see that put to the test this fall.  Of course, we have plenty of racing to look forward to before that point – but it’s always worth watching what’s going on abroad.

Here in the US, NYRA got a loan, which should keep things running for a while – and the Met Mile is on tap for the long weekend…in the meantime, why not celebrate Irish-bred Goldikova’s continued magnificence by purchasing The Divine Comedy’s new album,  Bang Goes The Knighthood, out on the 31st?

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