Alexa

Female horses could star on Day 2 of Breeders' Cup

Female horses could star on Day 2 of Breeders' Cup

A filly and a mare could crash the male-dominated second day of the season-ending world championships, with Havre de Grace and Goldikova strong contenders in their Breeders' Cup races against the boys.
Havre de Grace will face 11 males in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday. The filly was listed at 3-1 odds behind 5-2 favorite Uncle Mo.
Just before the Classic, 7-5 favorite Goldikova will go for a record fourth consecutive victory in the $2 million Mile on the turf, the European star's final race before retirement.
"If she were to pull that off, I think you just bronze her and put her in the infield," said U.S. Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who doesn't have a horse in the Mile. "You don't give her a trophy."
Friday's opening day of the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs featured six races, starting with the new $500,000 Juvenile Sprint for the boys followed by five races exclusively for fillies and mares.
But the $2 million Ladies' Classic didn't have Havre de Grace, whose owner Rick Porter preferred to chase the boys, bigger money and a shot at U.S. Horse of the Year honors in the Classic a day later.
"I certainly hope we get good consideration and a lot of it will depend on how we do," he said.
A victory on Saturday would put Havre de Grace in strong position to be the third consecutive filly to win Horse of the Year, an honor claimed by Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta.
Havre de Grace was named by Porter for the Maryland city and former racetrack located halfway between Wilmington, Delaware, and Baltimore on the Chesapeake Bay.
She was third in last year's Ladies' Classic at Churchill Downs under a different trainer in the worst finish of her career. She is 5 of 6 this year, including a win against the boys in the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga on Sept. 3, beating Classic contender Flat Out by 1 1/4 lengths.
Her only loss this year was to Blind Luck by a nose in the Delaware Handicap in July.
"We think she's the best she's been all year," trainer Larry Jones said.
Besides Uncle Mo, some of Havre de Grace's biggest challengers in the Classic are Flat Out, European import So You Think, Game On Dude and Stay Thirsty.
Havre de Grace will be running 1 1/4 miles (2,000 meters) for the third time in her career, having finished second twice at the distance to Blind Luck, last year's champion 3-year-old filly. She drew post 10, with Uncle Mo among the horses outside her.
Ireland-bred Goldikova is sticking to the Mile, a race she has won the last three years. She has 14 wins in Grade or Group 1 races in her 26-race career, including nine wins against males. She has finished out of the money just once.
"I haven't seen a horse in all my career do what she has done," trainer Freddy Head said.
Some critics have suggested that Goldikova has slipped this year, noting she has two wins and three losses by narrow margins since winning last year's Mile.
"She's getting a bit more lazier. She's gotten a bit heavier," Head said, at the same time noting, "She still has the same will to win. She just wants to run, run, run."
Jockey Olivier Peslier is sad to be riding Goldikova for the last time before she heads off to the breeding shed.
"I'm very happy if I ride the baby," he said.
Goldikova will start from the No. 1 post on a turf course hit by steady rain on Thursday. The weekend forecast called for sunny and dry conditions.
"Every time it's been soft (the turf), she's run a little below her form," Head said.


Updated : 2021-03-03 11:52 GMT+08:00