Goldikova had to withstand a long inquiry into bumping in the stretch run before even her third-place finish was allowed to stand.
The winner, Court Vision, had not finished in the money in more than a year and went to the post in the mile event at odds of 64-1. He paid $131.60 to win. Goldikova, meanwhile, is one of the world's top horses and was gunning for an unprecedented fourth straight Breeders' Cup win.
With regular rider Olivier Peslier up, Goldikova raced close to the pace along the hedge. She got to the lead early in the stretch run after some contact but could not sustain the run.
Patrick Valenzuela, riding Courageous Cat, filed an objection against Peslier, alleging interference at the top of the stretch. The stewards looked at the replays for several minutes before letting the result stand. Courageous Cat finished last of 13 and, under the rules of racing, had the objection been allowed, the stewards might have had to place Goldikova behind the horse she impeded.
Trainer Freddy Head said Goldikova "had a perfect run."
"We had the race I wanted to have," he said. "She looked like she was going to win for a moment but now I don't think she can sustain the same speed" as she had in previous years.
"She's done that the last couple of races," he added. "That's life. Maybe the mileage and the years have taken their toll."
Now, he said, she will be off to the breeding shed. "I hope all will go well and maybe she will have some foals coming here, too."
Court Vision finished fifth behind Goldikova in last year's mile race, beaten by only 2 3/4 lengths. He continued to run in top company for trainer Dale Romans but had not been able to break through until Saturday's big race.