California Flag, for whom Saturday's $100,000 stakes race at Santa Anita Park is named, didn't come close to the laudatory achievements of Goldikova, but he did exceed the magnificent mare in one respect: running in Breeders' Cup races five consecutive years.
Goldikova ran in Breeders' Cup races four straight years, that being the Breeders' Cup Mile, which the Irish-bred earner of more than $7 million for trainer Frederic Head won in 2008, 2009 and 2010. She was third in her fourth and final attempt, beaten only a length on Nov. 5, 2011, at Churchill Downs.
California Flag, a gray California-bred son of Avenue of Flags, competed in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, winning the downhill event at about 6 ½ furlongs under Joe Talamo for trainer Brian Koriner at Santa Anita on Nov. 7, 2009.
Overall, California Flag won 11 of 27 starts and earned $1,288,825.
“He was a very nice horse and hard to replace,” Koriner said. “You can't find those horses. I sure would like to have another one like him.”
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