10/21/2008 12:00AM

Goldikova looks like the hot one


ARCADIA, Calif. - Irish-bred stretch-runners drew the bookends in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile, with Shakis on the fence and Whatsthescript on the far outside of an 11-horse field. An Irish-bred front-runner, Daytona, will break from middle of the field in post 5, and will help push along the pace. And right next to Daytona, in post 4, is the Irish-bred, French-based 3-year-old filly Goldikova, who just may be the star of the whole shebang.

It is not the deepest race in the Mile's long history, and the 11-horse field will be the shortest since the same number ran in 1989. A couple of factors cut into field size this year. First, the Dirt Mile attracted a horse who might have run in the Mile. The Dirt Mile is being run on an all-weather surface, which turf horses generally handle better than dirt. The Irish-based Lord Admiral had the turf Mile listed as his first preference, but was entered instead Tuesday in the Dirt Mile.

Secondly, the decision by the connections of top Euro milers Raven's Pass and Henrythenavigator to try the Classic rather than the Mile cost this race two top contenders. But one man at Santa Anita certainly was pleased that those two tigers will test Curlin and the other Classic horses rather than run in the Mile.

"We were between the Filly and Mare Turf and the Mile, and when those two went in the Classic, we went to the Mile," said Freddie Head, Goldikova's trainer.

Goldikova will try to become the first female Mile winner since Six Perfections took the race over this very course in 2003. Goldikova lost the first three races of her 3-year-old season, beaten twice by the super-filly Zarkava, but she comes to California with three straight one-mile triumphs, the last two in Group 1 company. Asked Tuesday morning if he had concerns about Goldikova's draw on the tight-turned Santa Anita course, Head shook his head, no.

"I don't care," he said. "She's fast. She can get her place."

From post 4, Goldikova figures to race in the second flight of horses in behind fast-paced Daytona and Thorn Song. Thorn Song, wire-to-wire winner of the Shadwell Turf Mile in his most recent start, will break from post 10, and should make a beeline for the lead under Robby Albarado.

"Hopefully, he can clear everybody and try and open up before the first turn," trainer Dale Romans said.

Kip Deville, last year's Mile winner, will break from post 2, and he typically takes up a stalking position a couple lengths from the early leaders. That is the same trip likely for the mare Precious Kitten, who is drawn between Kip Deville and Goldikova in post 3.

Despite all the Irish-breds in the race, this year's European contingent is only two-strong, with tough-to-figure U S Ranger - more a sprinter in his overseas races - the only trans-Atlantic shipper other than Goldikova.