In recent years there have been few race horses as consistent as Goldikova. The Irish-bred mare competed in France for most of her career but gained fame in the United States for her three consecutive victories in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Noted for her ability to defeat all comers including male horses, Goldikova came to symbolize “Girl Power” in the horseracing world.
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Following an impressive two-year-old career in France and numerous victories when she was three, Goldikova crossed the pond to attempt beating American horses in 2008. Her goal was lofty. The connections of Goldikova chose to run her in the Breeders’ Cup Mile against older male horses. The race turned out to be a mere formality for the big filly as she defeated her male rivals with ease.
Returning to France, Goldikova continued her winning ways in 2009 with wins in the Falmouth Stakes and Prix Rothschild. Many wondered if she would come to America again and try to win a second Breeders’ Cup Mile. In late October the question was answered as Goldikova chased down Courageous Cat in the final strides of the event to claim the title once again. After this victory she was returned once again to France where she was rested at Normandy until February to prepare for 2010 and what seemed to be her final campaign.
On June 14, 2010 the horse was defeated in the Oueen Anne Stakes by Canford Cliffs. It was later revealed that her jockey was overweight by two pounds that day. Whether or not such a small amount of weight hindered Goldikova is debatable. It is far more likely that her days of dominance were simply coming to an end. In early October, however, Goldikova looked as good as ever by besting a field of 16 males in France. This race served as her prep for the November 6 Breeders’ Cup where she became the first horse to win the same Breeders’ Cup event three years in a row by defeating Gio Ponti and other American champions.
Goldikova was campaigned in 2011 and made yet another attempt to claim the Breeders’ Cup Mile. It was not to be this time around as she could only finish third. Her owners decided to retire her after the event and she became a brood mare, foaling for the first time on February 3, 2013.
It is important to include Goldikova in any list of the greatest racehorses of all time, not only because of what she accomplished on the racetrack but also because of what she inspired in racing fans. Many women attended races for the very first time to watch Goldikova compete against and defeat males. She became more than just a thoroughbred champion. She became a symbol of gender equality.
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