Saturday, October 3, 2009

Stablemates best B.C. Mile champion Goldikova at Longchamp: Breeders' Cup return 'not definite'

Defending Breeders' Cup Mile champion, the filly Goldikova, was overcome in the shadow of the wire by not one, but two horses Saturday in the French Group 1 Prix de la Foret at Longchamp, a defeat that has her trainer saying that a repeat trip to Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup in November is "not definite."

The race was won by a short head by 3-year-old colt Varenar and jockey Stephane Pasquier in a last-second lunge past fellow sophomore, the filly Sweet Hearth, who had edged ahead of the front-running, short-priced (2/5), 4-year-old Goldikova and rider Olivier Peslier in the race's waning yards. Both Varenar and Sweet Hearth are conditioned by Alain de Royer-Dupre.

Varenar scored at 19-1 in the 7-furlong test. If you can quickly cobble together some cash, you can buy him tonight, too. Bred and owned by His Highness the Aga Khan, Varenar is consigned to this evening's Arquana Arc Sale.

While Goldikova was tested throughout by other pace-setters, including 10-year-old gelding Welsh Emperor (who finished off the board), her trainer, Freddie Head, isn't certain what kept her from running her best. He also told several sources, including, that he isn't certain about defending her B.C. Mile title at Santa Anita next month.

"I don't really know what happened," said Head, who won the Prix de la Foret five times as a jockey. "They went a good gallop, but I saw coming into the straight she wasn't herself.

"For the moment, the Breeders' Cup is the plan, but it's not definite."


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