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BREEDERS' CUP NOTES

He has a double-double in the Mile

Freddy Head won the race twice in a row as a jockey and now as a trainer with Goldikova.

November 08, 2009|Pete Thomas and Eric Sondheimer

Irish-bred Goldikova defended her title in the Breeders' Cup Mile with an impressive late charge Saturday, providing French trainer Freddy Head with an accomplishment not likely to be matched any time soon.

Head, a former jockey who rode Miesque to consecutive victories in the Mile in 1987-88, became the only person to win the same race twice as a jockey and trainer.

"It's something I don't have the words to try to say what I feel," he said afterward. "Because having ridden a horse like her . . . and now to train a horse like her, it's something you can't dream of."

Goldikova, who won last year with an explosive turn of foot from the eighth-pole, this year prevailed with a more sustained effort, coming from well back to win by 1 1/2 lengths under jockey Olivier Peslier.

Head's next trick, Peslier joked, is "to win as an owner."

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The Zenyatta allure

Due in large part to the presence of the phenomenal mare, Santa Anita enjoyed an old-time crowd of 58,845. The two-day Breeders' Cup total attendance was 96,496. The two-day total last year was 86,858

Mutuel handle for Saturday was $12,177,982, an increase of 3% over 2008.

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Historic ride

Ahmed Ajtebi, who rode Irish-bred Vale Of York to triumph in the $2-million Juvenile, is the first Middle Eastern jockey to compete in the Breeders' Cup. Ajtebi, an apprentice who has been riding for Saudi Arabia-based Godolphin Stables for six months, was born and raised in Dubai.

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Winners, losers

* Top jock: French jockey Julien Leparoux, who won two Breeders' Cup races Friday and triumphed in the $1-million Dirt Mile, was the event's top jockey with three wins.

* Top trainer: John Shirreffs with wins in the marquee Classic and Ladies' Classic.

* Baffled: Bob Baffert, who has saddled seven Breeders' Cup winners and ranks third among Breeders' Cup trainers in terms of money won, was shut out in four races this year, including a fifth-place finish by Zensational in the Sprint.

* Not his place: Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird finished ninth in the Classic to continue a miserable run at Santa Anita. He was 10th in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile and sixth last October in the Goodwood Stakes.

* Biggest longshot: Vale Of York, 30-1, paying $63.20 for a $2 win bet.

* Euros fare well: European-bred horses posted six wins in 14 Breeders' Cup races: Man Of Iron (England) in the Marathon; Midday (England), Filly & Mare Turf; Pounced (England), Juvenile Turf; Conduit (Ireland), Turf, and Goldikova.

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Gamble pays

Dancing In Silks -- following a triumph by California Flag in the $1-million Turf Sprint -- became the second consecutive California-bred horse to win Saturday with a photo-finish triumph in the $2-million Sprint.

Dancing In Silks, who did not win an automatic qualifier and was supplemented into the field at a cost of $100,000, was among the day's longshot winners and paid $52.60 for a $2 bet.

Trainer Carla Gaines said she tried to discourage owner Ken Kinakin from buying his way into the field. "I was concerned about him dumping all that money in there," she said. The winner's share: $1,080,000.

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And finally

There has been strong debate in California and elsewhere about synthetic tracks. But trainer Jonathan Sheppard, whose 9-year-old gelding, Cloudy's Knight, finished second by a nose in the Breeders' Cup Marathon on Friday in his first appearance on synthetics, said, "I think it says it's nothing to be afraid of.

"If a 9-year-old can perform like that, then there's no reason not to give it a try."

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pete.thomas@latimes.com

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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