01/25/2007 12:00AM

Ace sprinters Bordonaro and Proud Tower Too clash at last

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ARCADIA, Calif. - World-class sprinters Bordonaro and Proud Tower Too side-stepped each other long enough. They meet Saturday for the first time in a six-furlong explosion called the Sunshine Millions Sprint.

Stand back and shade your eyes.

"They both have speed, and they both run fast," said Sal Gonzalez, trainer of Proud Tower Too. "There isn't much mystery. It's just a matter of who the best horse is."

"They're going to go 43-and-change," said Bill Spawr, trainer of Bordonaro. "From the inside, we're going to have to go. When they get to the quarter pole and the fractions flip up, that's going to tell the tale."

Bordonaro and Proud Tower Too drew side-by-side, posts 7 and 8, in the $300,000 race, and the speedballs will be at each other's throats. It's the way it should be. Actually, it is about time.

Bred in California, Bordonaro and Proud Tower Too emerged as elite sprinters even while avoiding one another. Bordonaro won the Sunshine Millions Sprint last Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park, while Proud Tower Too stayed home for the Sunshine Millions Classic the same day.

In December 2005 at Hollywood Park, Bordonaro won the Grade 3 Vernon Underwood the day before Proud Tower Too won the On Trust Handicap. Once, they even ran on the same card at Santa Anita. Bordonaro won a California Cup starter allowance Nov. 6, 2005; Proud Tower Too was nowhere the same day in the Cal Cup Sprint.

But over the past 16 months, Bordonaro and Proud Tower Too reached higher levels. Bordonaro won 3 of 5 starts in 2006, including the Grade 1 Ancient Title Handicap. Proud Tower Too won the Grade 1 Malibu opening day of the 2005-06 winter meet, and in March shipped to Dubai and won the Group 1, $2 million Golden Shaheen.

Bordonaro is racing Saturday for the first time since a fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Spawr said the gelding has trained well. Richard Migliore worked Bordonaro six furlongs a week ago and shook his head in awe after the work.

"This horse has so much class," Migliore told Spawr.

Owned by Fred Carrillo and Daniel Cassella, Bordonaro has only one prerace excuse. "The only excuse I can see is Proud Tower Too laying on us from the outside," Spawr said.

Proud Tower Too finished third in a fast-paced sprint Jan. 1, his first start since March and first since minor surgery to remove a chip from an ankle. If he improves second start back, Proud Tower Too is qualified to upset under David Cohen. His strategy is the same as Bordonaro's.

"We're not going to take [Proud Tower Too] back," Gonzalez said. "He doesn't want to be rated. If something wants to go with him, wish both of us luck. The good thing about him is he very seldom quits."

Seven others entered the Sunshine Millions Sprint. They include Gradeo1-placed closer Nightmare Affair and Areyoutalkintome, a graded stakes winner whose 12 starts at Santa Anita have produced 6 wins and 4 seconds.

Others in the field are Mach Ride, Souvenir Evening, Red Warrior, and Smokey Stover. The Sprint is race 4 on the 10-race card.