The Breeders Cup Mile is a prestigious Group One turf race and one of the most important contests at the annual Breeders Cup meeting which is usually held at the end of October or beginning of November.
Horses aged three years-old upwards are eligible for the race with a ‘weight for age’ handicap allotted to the fourteen-strong field.
The race was first run in 1984 after the inception of the Breeders Cup meeting and has become renowned as the last major one mile championship race of the flat season.
In 2007, the race’s prize purse was upgraded from $1.5million to $2million to reflect its high status and this was further bolstered by the creation of the Breeders Cup Challenge in the same year.
Although the Breeders Cup Challenge involves all races at the meeting, the Breeders Cup Mile division is more expansive and diverse with six qualifying races around the world taking place throughout the campaign, offering horses from around the globe an automatic berth in the Breeders Cup line-up.
The Del Mar Breeders Cup Mile, Woodbine Mile, Sha Tin Champions Mile, QE II Stakes (Ascot), Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (Keeneland) and Santa Anita’s Oak Tree Mile Stakes all comprise of the Breeders Cup Mile challenge division – and such high class affairs inevitably ensure that the Breeders Cup Mile starting field is of excellent quality year upon year.
Trainer Freddy Head is perhaps the most popular racing figure to be associated with the Breeders Cup Mile having triumphed on three occasions in his current role and twice as a jockey.
The imperious Goldikova has been responsible for all of his training triumphs in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and the French-bred wonder mare is by far the best and most successful horse to have competed in the race since it begun.
Consequently, the only man to have ridden the winner of the race more times than Head is Olivier Peslier, after he partnered Goldikova to all of her victories, stamping horse, jockey and trainer firmly in the history books.
Horses like Goldikova do not come around very often – and although her past successes in the race have been somewhat foreseeable months beforehand, the race is not always quite so straightforward.
The diversity of the field certainly makes for great entertainment however crossing over form between horses from different continents can be extremely difficult when searching for the race winner. Therefore, any form-lines which do appear to surface have to be trusted and used to form a reliable selection.
Ideally, a horse with a fine mix of speed and stamina should be chosen, as top one-mile races always require a horse to possess a slick set of gears. Goldikova has become lamented for how smoothly she travels during her races, before igniting with a quick response and turn of foot moving past the two furlong pole.
The QEII stakes at Ascot is likely to produce the classiest horse in the field and usually, the winner of this race starts the Breeders Cup Mile as favourite should they opt to participate.