10/23/2010 10:36AM

Goldikova's Attempt At Three Straight BC Miles


Like everyone else, I am eager to see if Zenyatta, who, make no mistake, is the star of this Breeders' Cup, will make it 20 for 20 by beating a better group of dirt males in the BC Classic than the group she beat in this race last year. I am also eager to see how Uncle Mo handles two turns in the BC Juvenile, if Midday can make like a certain other European mare and win a second straight BC Filly & Mare Turf, and if Winter Memories can prove she's the monster I think she is in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf.

And then we come to the BC Mile which, thanks to Goldikova, is in a special category all its own.

There have been seven repeat winners in the same Breeders' Cup race. They are Miesque (Mile, 1987 and 1988), Bayakoa (Distaff, 1989 and 1990), Lure (Mile, 1992 and 1993), Tiznow (Classic, 2000 and 2001), High Chaparral (Turf, 2002 and 2003), Midnight Lute (Sprint, 2007 and 2008), and Goldikova (Mile, 2008 and 2009). No horse has ever won the same Breeders' Cup race three straight years. Lure is the only horse to have attempted it, but he finished ninth in the 1994 Mile.

Clearly, Goldikova's attempt to win the Mile for a third straight year is packed with historical meaning. And the fact that she will be strongly favored to succeed means that we have an excellent chance to witness a racing first that will be one of those records that will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to match.

Think about it. With the lure of breeding money a constant pull in the other direction and injury an ever-present danger, how many horses actually stay in training three straight years after their 2-year-old season? That's what you would have to do at the very least to attempt to win the same Breeders' Cup race three straight years. How many horsemen really want to keep their best charges in training through age 5?

Beyond that, how many of those horses maintain sufficient form over that time to merit three straight starts in the same Breeders' Cup race? Moreover, how many horses achieve and maintain form of a high enough level to actually give them a chance to win those three straight Breeders' Cup starts? I know. It's ridiculous. And while some might say, "Well, hey, how about Zenyatta?," don't forget, she's an extreme aberration, too.

If Goldikova achieves this feat by winning the Mile a third straight time, it seems to me that with the way the game is today, the only type of horse who could possibly match her accomplishment would be a super gelding on the order of a Forego or a Kelso or a John Henry. The problem with that is we just don't see as many star geldings as we used to because horsemen are understandably more reluctant than ever to make that "final cut." And even if a standout gelding did come along, he would probably have to be a specialist such as a sprinter or turf horse, because it is inconceivable to me that the Classic could be won three straight years by the same horse.

The only thing I can think of that would keep three straight Mile wins by Goldikova from being in the same sphere as a no-chance-it-will-ever-be-broken record like Cy Young's 511 career wins in baseball is the lack of quality depth that seems to plague the sport today. Okay, so then Goldikova's feat would fall into the merely unobtainable category of Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hit streak. Because let's not forget, for Goldikova to win three straight Breeders' Cup Miles, it also means she will have had to have cross the Atlantic three straight times to do it.

UPDATE: As El Angelo pointed out, I overlooked Conduit, who won the BC Turf in 2008 and 2009. My apologies.