05/22/2010 11:00PM

Goldikova wins Longchamp Group 1 in comeback


Goldikova returned to the races in triumph at Longchamp on Sunday with an authoritative victory in the Group 1, $312,000, Prix d'Ispahan. The two-time Breeders' Cup Mile winner had no problems with the odd distance of 1 1/8 miles, 55 yards as she cruised to victory under a perfectly timed ride from Olivier Peslier.

A very fast pace set by outsider Next Vision helped set the race up perfectly for Goldikova, who was well placed in third in the early going. She led approaching the quarter pole, but her winning margin of a half-length over Byword was somewhat deceptive as she had opened up a two-length lead inside the furlong pole before Byword made up some late ground. It was an astonishing 10 lengths further back to German Derby winner Wiener Walzer in third as Stacelita disappointed in coming home fourth, another six lengths behind.

A 5-year-old Anabaa mare, Goldikova was making her first start since winning her second Breeders' Cup Mile on Nov. 7. Sent off as the 1.30-1 favorite in the eight-runner field, she added icing to the cake by setting a new course record for the distance of 1:49.40 on good ground, breaking the 1983 mark of 1:50.10 set by Royal Heroine, who one year later would win the inaugural Breeders' Cup Mile. The victory of the Wertheimer brothers-owned Goldikova was a vindication of her performance in last year's race when she could only manage seventh on ground that was officially labeled soft but ran more like heavy.

In winning the eighth Group or Grade 1 race of her illustrious career, Goldikova appears poised to sweep all before her in any of the Group 1 miles she chooses to appear in through the rest of the year. Freddie Head, who was winning his first Ispahan as a trainer after having won it four times as a jockey, said that her next race would be the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 15 when she will meet defending titleholder Paco Boy. Her ultimate goal remains a third Breeders' Cup Mile title, as it has been since her second victory at Santa Anita 6 1/2 months ago.

* Earlier on the Ispahan card, Sarafina survived a stewards' inquiry to keep the Group 1, $312,000 Prix Saint-Alary at the expense of Deluxe, who finished a half-length behind her in the 1 1/4-mile French Oaks prep. An Aga Khan homebred trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre, Sarafina was in tight entering the stretch and bumped eventual eighth-place finisher T'As d'Beaux Yeux as she angled in for room. Ridden by Gerald Mosse, the 6-5 daughter of Refuse to Bend led at the eighth pole and held off the Andre Fabre-trained Deluxe, who saw her perfect 2-for-2 record ended as she attempted to become the sixth Group 1 winner produced by her dam Hasili. The winning time was a tepid 2:04.10.

Sarafina was late getting to the races as she only ran for the first time on May 3 when landing a one-mile Chantilly maiden for unraced fillies by a length. She and Deluxe will meet again at Chantilly on June 14 when they contest the 1 5/16-mile Prix de Diane, that is to say, the French Oaks.