Esoterique fits profile of distaffers who do well in Breeders' Cup Mile
Goldikova photo courtesy of Ed Van Meter/Horsephotos.com
With top French mare Esoterique and the peaking Tepin in line for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), it’s an opportune time to recall just how well distaffers have performed in this turf test.
Females have won eight of 31 runnings, including three-time queen Goldikova (2008-10) and dual winner Miesque (1987-88). The trend was set early on with Royal Heroine taking the inaugural Mile in 1984, and fellow fillies Ridgewood Pearl (1995) and Six Perfections (2003) round out the honor roll.
All five had a couple of things in common going into the Breeders’ Cup: aside from boasting European classic form, each had also defeated males at the Group/Grade 1 level.
Royal Heroine was the only member of the quintet who was based in the United States, but like her trainer John Gosden, she was an expatriate. Her classic placing came in Newmarket’s 1000 Guineas (G1) in 1983, where she was second across the wire, and Royal Heroine earned her Grade 1 stripes over males in the Hollywood Derby (G1). She maintained that form as a four-year-old in 1984, including her memorable runner-up effort to John Henry in the Arlington Million (G1).
Miesque brought a lofty resume into her first Breeders’ Cup in 1987. A two-time classic winner in both Newmarket’s 1000 Guineas and the French equivalent, the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (G1), the Francois Boutin trainee twice beat older males in the Prix Jacques le Marois (G1) and Prix du Moulin (G1). Miesque was nearly unbeaten during her four-year-old season in 1988, competing against males in all four outings. Successful in the Prix d’Ispahan (G1) before repeating in the Marois, she missed by a head in her Moulin title defense. The Niarchos homebred concluded her career on a high note back in the Mile at Churchill Downs.
Ridgewood Pearl, trained in Ireland by John Oxx, compiled a stellar sophomore campaign in 1995. She captured her classic laurel by dominating the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) and went on to add the Coronation (G1) at Royal Ascot and the Moulin. The Mile served as the exclamation point to her career.
Six Perfections, a Niarchos homebred like Miesque, was another to land the Mile as a three-year-old filly. Second in two classics – the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Irish equivalent – the Pascal Bary pupil got her head in front in the Marois, edging 2002 Mile hero Domedriver. That piece of form carried over neatly to Six Perfections’ next start, the Mile at Santa Anita.
Goldikova likewise scored her first Mile victory at three. Trained by Freddie Head (who had also been Miesque’s jockey), the Wertheimer homebred was unlucky to be foaled the same year as Zarkava, or else she would have won the French 1000 Guineas. Goldikova was second to the mighty Zarkava in that classic, despite a bad stumble at the start, and she was third behind the same rival in the French Oaks (G1). After notching her first Group 1 versus fellow distaffers in the Prix Rothschild (G1), Goldikova then dismissed males in the Moulin. She continued to pile up the Group 1 trophies over the next three years, and came up just a length shy when going for an unbelievable fourth Mile trophy.
Goldikova’s third in the 2011 Mile marked the seventh time that a female had placed in the Mile. Six Perfections had also finished third in her title defense at Lone Star (2004).
The other five distaffers to record Mile placings are Sonic Lady, third to Miesque in 1987; Ski Paradise, second to Lure in 1993; Sayyedati, third to Ridgewood Pearl in 1995; Tuzla, who just missed to Silic in 1999; and Gorella, third to Artie Schiller in 2005. Like the distaff Mile winners, they all began their careers abroad as well.
Based on that history, Esoterique has the right kind of profile for a female in the Mile. She owns a classic credit from 2013, when just denied in the French 1000 Guineas by Flotilla (the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies [G1] winner). A fast-finishing fourth in the 2014 Moulin, the Andre Fabre mare was second to world-class males Solow and Muhaarar this summer before beating males in the Marois. And it doesn’t hurt to be a French vixen – like Miesque, Six Perfections and Goldikova. Note that Fabre also trained runner-up Ski Paradise.
Brisnet.com has the early Breeders' Cup PPs files available for all 13 races -- 4 on Breeders' Cup Friday (30th) and 9 on Breeders' Cup Saturday (31). Click here to access: http://www.brisnet.com/cgi-bin/special_reps.cgi