10/20/2009 11:00PM

Gladiatorus adds to hot pace

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Andrew Watkins
Gladiatorus, a confirmed front-runner, won the $5 million Dubai Duty Free last March.

There will be pace in the Breeders' Cup Mile - and plenty of it, from the early look of things.

Cowboy Cal won the Oct. 10 Oak Tree Mile at Santa Anita after setting lively fractions, and he has led or pressed the leader in almost all of his 17 career starts. But Cowboy Cal has nothing on relentless front-runner Gladiatorus, who has been confirmed for the BC Mile after returning to form Oct. 11 in the Group 1 Premio Vittorio di Capua at the San Siro course in Italy.

Gladiatorus led throughout all three of his impressive wins this past winter in Dubai, raced on the lead two weekends ago at San Siro, and between his speed and that of Cowboy Cal, the tempo in the 2009 Mile should be nearer allegro than andante.

Gladiatorus makes three likely Mile starters for Godolphin, which also plans to start Delegator and Justenuffhumor. Based at the desert training center of Mubarak bin Shafya earlier this year in Dubai, Gladiatorus returned from a 15-month layoff to become the horse of the Winter Carnival at Nad al Sheba. He captured the Jaguar XF Trophy by 2 1/2 lengths, the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort by almost six, and then led throughout the Group 1, $5 million Dubai Duty Free under local rider Ahmed Ajtebi.

But once out of Dubai, Gladiatorus disappointed badly. In June, he was beaten 20 lengths in the Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot. In August, he was beaten 20 lengths in the Prix Jacque le Marois at Deauville. The Sept. 6 Prix Moulin de Longchamps was better, however, with Gladiatorus fifth by four lengths, and back in Italy for the first time since a strong 2-year-old campaign in 2007, Gladiatorus won by more than four lengths earlier this month.

Gladiatorus may like the tight, firm Santa Anita course, and so may fellow Godolphin runner Justenuffhumor, who barely lifted a hoof during a sixth-place finish as the 7-5 favorite in the Oct. 10 Shadwell Mile, which was run over boggy ground.

"He's still on course for [the Mile]," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "We think he just hated the soft going and didn't run on it at all. He came out of it in good shape."

McLaughlin said Justenuffhumor returned immediately to the Greentree training center at Saratoga, and is scheduled to ship to California on Oct. 30.

* Varenar, a possible Mile prospect after his win in the Prix de la Foret earlier this month, has been put away for the rest of 2009.