10/13/2010 2:28PM

Paco Boy to take another shot at Goldikova

Racing Post
Paco Boy (left) falls a neck short to Goldikova in the Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot.

Four times Paco Boy has squared off against two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Goldikova, and four times the filly has beaten him, but Paco Boy will try one final time to beat the mighty mare. Paco Boy’s trainer, Richard Hannon, confirmed the horse as an intended BC Mile starter this week, with the Mile to be the final race of Paco Boy’s career.

Paco Boy and Goldikova are two of five potential European invaders for the Mile, though Poet’s Voice, winner of the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth on Sept. 25 at Ascot, was removed from Mile consideration to start this weekend in the Champion Stakes at Newmarket instead. Rip Van Winkle remains a possible Mile starter, but his connections still could choose the Classic. Three-year-old Beethoven, trained, like Rip Van Winkle, by Aidan O’Brien, is a possible Mile runner. So is Delegator, with trainer Saeed bin Suroor saying this week that a good showing by Delegator in the Champion Stakes could send him on to the Mile.

Paco Boy, a 5-year-old Irish-bred, has won half his 22 career starts, with Group 1 victories in the Prix de la Foret in 2008, the Queen Anne in 2009, and the Lockinge earlier this year. All those victories came over turf called good or good-to-firm, which could bode well for Paco Boy’s chances of adapting to U.S. turf racing. On the other hand, Paco Boy’s lone start on a left-handed course like those employed in this country produced the worst performance of his career, an eighth-place finish in the 2009 Dubai Duty Free.

There is also the matter of Goldikova’s apparent superiority, though Paco Boy has gotten close to the mare, finishing second by a half-length to her Oct. 3 in the Foret, and a neck behind her when Goldikova was second to Makfi in the Jacques le Marois in August.

“Paco Boy has a terrific turn of foot and the style of American racing should suit him, but there is a certain Goldikova standing in our way again,” Hannon said in a posting on his website.

Based on his sharp victory Saturday in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland, Gio Ponti also could stand in Paco Boy’s way, but only if his owner, Shane Ryan, elects to try the Mile over another start in the Classic. Courageous Cat, second in the 2009 Mile, finished third in the Shadwell, but should move forward in his second race after a long layoff. Liberian Freighter beat Colgan’s Chip in Saturday’s Oak Tree Mile at Hollywood, but that race does not figure to have much bearing on the BC Mile. Sidney’s Candy, the morning-line Oak Tree Mile favorite, was scratched because of an impending sale, and is now expected to train up to the Mile. On Monday, he worked a bullet five furlongs over Hollywood’s main track.