Ahhh……the Golden Goldikova. What a tremendously talented mare she is. After four years of racing, we have almost run out of adjectives to use to describe her. I mean what more can we say?
To the casual observer, Goldikova may just be a ‘nice’ racehorse. She certainly wouldn’t win any beauty pageants. I’m not saying that ‘Goldi’ is homely or ugly. Not in the least bit! However, she certainly is not a flashy individual, either. Her packaging may be that of a ‘plain brown wrapper’, but it’s what’s inside that counts.
In a career that has spanned four years, Goldi has always been sound. She’s never had to end a year early or miss a race due to any strains, pulls, or even the sniffles. The daughter of Anabaa has made 24 career starts---and won 17 of them. She has finished in the money 23 times! The only time she has thrown in a complete clunker was when she finished 7th in the Prix d’Ispahan (Fr-I) in 2009.
This leads into my next point in that Goldikova is the model of consistency. Overall soundness and good health of course lead to being able to compete at the highest level. This past Sunday, Goldi won the Prix Rothschild (Fr-I) for the fourth year in a row. As we all know, she will be shooting for her fourth straight Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) later this season. Other races she has raced in at least twice, if not three times; she hasn’t won all of them, but she has been in the money (i.e., 2009 Jacques La Marois-1st; 2010 La Marois-2nd/2010 Queen Anne-1st; 2011 Queen Anne-2nd). She’s like a Swiss watch (or a Timex….she keeps on ticking…).
I’d like to briefly mention the amount of weight that Goldikova has toted over the years. In her first race back in 2007, as a wee lass of two, little Goldi was assigned 126 pounds. (I’ll try not to mention that for the most part, the only time any horses here stateside carry that weight is if they participate in any of the Triple Crown races. Although, yes, Zenyatta did carry 127 and 129 a couple of times. Oops, wait a minute….looks like I just mentioned that!) Anyway, on two occasions in her career, Goldikova has toted 131 pounds—once was in a neck loss to Azabara in a 3yo conditions race (the winner toted a feathery 123). The other race was the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes (Eng-I) in 2009, in which Goldi beat older fillies by a half-length.
Now let’s take a look at the type of competition our girl Goldi has been facing. The last time Goldikova competed in anything less than a group I was way back in June 2008, during her 3-year-old season. Two of her losses during her sophomore year came at the hands (at the hooves?) of the brilliant Zarkava, who was undefeated during her career.
So far in her career, Goldikova has defeated 29 grade I/group I winners on both sides of the Atlantic. Those she has left in her wake include the likes of Henrythenavigator, Paco Boy (three times), Proviso (three times), Darjina (twice), Zacinto (twice), Rip Van Winkle, Court Vision (twice), Gio Ponti, Kip Deville, Natagora (twice), Sahpresa (twice), Gladiatorus (twice), Dick Turpin, and Byword (twice). There’s more I could add, but I think you get the point..
In conclusion, if you are looking for the definition of a true miler, look no further than the little brown filly from France, and everyone’s sweetheart---Goldikova. Pure class and a true champion on both sides of the pond. I only hope that after she retires, regardless of the outcome of the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Mile, that the Breeders’ Cup officials add her name to the title of the race. Yes, keep the sponsor, obviously, but the race should always be known as the TVG/Goldikova Breeders’ Cup Mile. She deserves the honor.
Goldikova is great, and has been great for years. There is no denying that, but excuse me … have you seen Frankel run? I haven’t seen a horse more spectacular in winning his first eight races since … since, I don’t know when.
They are both beautiful horses, but if we are going to talk looks, yes, I would say Frankel is the looker. The beautiful bay son of the champion, Galileo, certainly has all the right parts in the right places, and a motor in that engine that blow the doors off even the sleekest and prettiest of French sports cars.
Longevity is a quality to be admired, and Goldikova has been able to sustain her excellence, but sometimes it is time for the old guard to step down from their throne and recognize a new era. Frankel may have only been around for two short seasons so far, but look at his accomplishments. He already has eight wins (out of eight starts) including seven straight stakes, with four of them being of the Group I variety. Not a clunker to be found.
Can’t argue with you there. Goldikova has been consistent. What I will say, is this … Is there anything more consistent than the undefeated horse? While Goldikova has lost at least one race in each of the last four years, Frankel is perfect. His record is as consistent as you can get. If Goldikova is like a Swiss watch, then Frankel must be like death and taxes, because he just doesn’t lose. And the way he is dominating his group one competition, it does not look like the first loss is coming anytime soon.
While you are mentioning the weight that Goldikova has carried, I’d like to rundown Frankel’s margins of victory. In his maiden win he won by half a length over Nathaniel, probably the second best 3-year-old in the world. Next he won a minor stakes race by 13 lengths, that’s right 13! Then he won a Group 2 stakes at Ascot by 10 lengths, before closing out his juvenile season with a Group 1 win by an easy 2 ½ lengths. At three, Frankel opened with a 4 length win at Newbury. He then proceeded to take down an English classic, the 2000 Guineas, by 6 lengths. He opened an insurmountable lead in the St. James’s Palace Stakes before coasting to a ¾ length victory in his seventh start, before making the racing world gasp with a 5 length undressing of Canford Cliffs in the Sussex. Not only is Frankel perfect, he is winning these races by an average of more than 5 lengths!
I think you hit on something there Mary … Zarkava was undefeated and brilliant. Sound familiar? In fact, after this debate, I plan on calling the good folks at Webster to have them place a picture of Frankel next to their definition of both undefeated, and brilliant.
That list of competition is great, but I notice that Zarkava is not mentioned. You remember her, the filly that beat Goldikova in both of their races. You see, that is the difference between Goldikova and Frankel. One has proven to be an all-time great, but certainly beatable, while Frankel is well on his way to super stardom without ever having come close to losing a race. He has faced the best of his generation, and the best 4-year-old miler in the world, and he is still looking for someone … anyone, to challenge him.
Goldikova will get her honors, as we all know she so richly deserves, but let’s face it, when the two of them do eventually meet on the track, it will be Frankel that is favored by most to win. Frankel is a machine at a mile, and no one, including Goldikova can stop him. Look what he did to Canford Cliffs last week. The same horse that beat Goldikova last time, looked Frankel in the eye and had absolutely no response. Frankel is just too good. I applaud Goldikova on an amazing career, but if they raced tomorrow, Frankel would win. He is just too good.