September 24, 2023

Champion and Hall of Famer Goldikova dead at 16

Goldikova won 14 Grade/Group 1 races in all, including three Breeders' Cup Miles (G1). (Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos)

Goldikova, the dynamic French mare whose unprecedented three straight wins in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) from 2008-10 earned her not only worldwide acclaim but also two Eclipse Awards and a spot in the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame, has died. The announcement was made Wednesday morning by Pierre-Yves Bureau, manager for owners Wertheimer & Frere. The daughter of Anabaa was 16.

Although her career ended on a down note after finishing third in pursuit of a fourth Breeders’ Cup Mile in 2011, Goldikova had long entered the pantheon of greats after accumulating 14 Grade/Group 1 wins in France, England, and the U.S., with earnings of more than $7 million.

Goldikova won 17 of 27 starts and was unplaced only once, in the 2009 Prix d’Ispahan (G1), a race she would win the following two seasons. In addition to her three tallies in the Mile and two in the Ispahan, Goldikova’s other top-level scores included four Prix Rothschilds (2008-11) and the Prix Jacques le Marois (2009) at Deauville, the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp (2008), the Falmouth at Newmarket (2009), the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot (2010), and the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp (2010).

Goldikova was trained by ex-jockey Freddy Head and was often compared to Miesque, the brilliant French filly of the late 1980s who Head rode to victory in the 1987 and 1988 editions of the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The first horse to win the same Breeders’ Cup event twice, Miesque was eventually eclipsed by Goldikova, who was the first to win three and to date is the only one to have done so in the same race.

Goldikova was voted champion turf female in 2009 and 2010 and joined Miesque in the Hall of Fame in 2017.

“It’s very similar to Frankie Dettori and Enable – when you ride an amazing filly like that, she will be in your life forever,” said Olivier Peslier, her regular rider. “We have both ridden many winners and many Group 1 winners, but a filly like this – winning 14 Group 1s – it’s different.

“The owners were fantastic to keep her in training for as long as they did. She could have been retired, but the owners were like fans and they wanted to see her run.”

Produced by Born Gold, a daughter of Blushing Groom, Goldikova was a half-sister to Group 1 winner Galikova and group winners Gold Sound, Gold Luck, and Gold Round. A full brother, Anodin, was a Group 3 winner and placed in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Goldikova’s third dam was the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) winner Gold River.

Goldikova’s most successful offspring to date was the Galileo filly Terrakova, who captured the 2017 Prix Cleopatre (G3) and finished a close third in the Prix de Diane (G1).

This story will be updated.

Goldikova career highlights:

2008 Breeders’ Cup Mile:

2009 Breeders’ Cup Mile

2010 Breeders’ Cup Mile

2010 Queen Anne