ARCADIA, Calif. -- An historic encore win by Goldikova in Saturday's $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita showed a new dimension from a filly who has dominated one-mile grass races on both sides of the Atlantic in the last two years.
Instead of blasting to the lead in early stretch with an eye-catching move as she did in the 2008 Mile at Santa Anita, Goldikova and jockey Olivier Peslier used a sustained three-furlong rally on Saturday for a half-length win over Courageous Cat.
The victory gave Head his fourth win in the BC Mile, two as a jockey aboard Miesque in 1987-88 and the last two as the trainer of Goldikova.
"I don't have the words to say what I feel," Head said. "To have ridden a horse like Miesque and to have trained a horse like her, it's something you can't dream of."
Goldikova ($4.80) ran a mile on turf in 1:32.26. Peslier had her in 10th in the field of 11 for the first half-mile, and had moved into eighth on the final turn. At that point, Peslier began moving Goldikova closer to the leaders, racing wide.
"When my filly is relaxed, she always finishes well," Peslier said.
Peslier had Goldikova closing well through the stretch. She was fifth, 1 3/4 lengths behind 22-1 Courageous Cat with a furlong remaining, and took the lead in the final sixteenth.
Courageous Cat, a 3-year-old, finished a length in front of Justenuffhumor, a 16-1 shot. The runner-up finish was a satisfactory consolation for trainer Bill Mott.
"It was a huge effort," Mott said. "I thought he might win it. He ran a winning race."
Gladiatorus, the winner of the $5 million Dubai Duty Free last March, set a quick pace of 22.98 and 45.22 seconds, but faded from contention in the final furlong. Jockey Ahmed Ajtebi told trainer Saeed bin Suroor after the race that Gladiatorus struggled on the firm turf course.
Goldikova has won on a variety of surfaces, from firm turf at Santa Anita to soft turf in France. A 4-year-old filly owned by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, Goldikova won her fourth Grade 1 or Group 1 race of 2009 in the BC Mile. She has won 10 of 15 starts and $4,090,090 in her career.
Saturday's win followed a third-place finish in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret over seven furlongs in Paris on Oct. 3, when she set the early pace and was beaten a half-length.
After Saturday's race, the Wertheimers did not say whether Goldikova would stay in training next year, but left open the possibility.
"We don't know yet," Alain Wertheimer said.
If she does return, it could give the owners and Head yet another milestone in the Breeders' Cup Mile.
BREEDERS' CUP MILE RESULTS
Santa Anita Park, Saturday, November 7