- Three-year-olds and upwards. One mile and one furlong (dirt). First run 1982
The Goodwood Stakes is a prestigious Grade One staged at Santa Anita racetrack in California. The race was a handicap and had Grade Two status up to and including the 2006 running.
It is the result of the close relationship between Goodwood Racecourse and California’s Oak Tree Racing Association. Glorious Goodwood stages the Group Three Oak Tree Stakes in return. Run in October, the race is an important prep for the Breeders’ Cup Championship and three Goodwood Handicap victors have gone on to take the Grade One Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The first of those was the 1987 hero Ferdinand, who defeated Alysheba in a legendary showdown in the Breeders’ Cup at Hollywood Park. The mighty Tiznow triumphed in both races in 2000 and added another Breeders’ Cup Classic the following year, while Pleasantly Perfect won back-to-back renewals of the Goodwood Handicap (2002 & 2003) and went on the Breeders’ Cup Classic success after the second of those wins.
The 2008 victor, Well Armed, who started his career in England with trainer Clive Brittain, proved a length too good for the previous year’s winner, Tiago, at Santa Anita. The latter had won the first Grade One Stakes renewal by a nose from Awesome Gem. The 2008 third, Albertus Maximus, returned to the same course the following month to triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
The Santa Anita race has seen four winners go on to capture the world’s richest race, the US$6-million Dubai World Cup – Soul Of The Matter (1995 Goodwood Handicap & 1996 Dubai World Cup), Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm (1998 GH & DWC) and Pleasantly Perfect (2002/2003 GH & 2004 DWC) andWell Armed (2008 GS & 2009 DWC), while Captain Steve was third to Tiznow at Santa Anita in 2000 before winning at Nad Al Sheba the following March.
The prolific Californian gelding Lava Man never succeeded outside of his home state, despite landing numerous major races, and was a hugely popular victor when successful in 2006.