11/03/2009 1:00AM

Goldikova's draw no concern to trainer

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Barbara D. Livingston
Goldikova is weighed upon her arrival at Santa Anita on Sunday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Goldikova will start from the outside post in a field of 11 when she attempts to defend her title in Saturday's $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita.

For trainer Freddie Head, the post is not an issue. He is convinced that the 4-year-old filly is capable of defending her title, and justifying her role as the favorite in the Mile.

"She might be better a year later," he said on Tuesday. "She's had a better trip [to California] this year than last year. She was quieter."

Recent history is on Goldikova's side. When the BC Mile was run at Santa Anita in 2003, Six Perfections, another French-based filly, broke from post 12 in a field of 13, and rallied three wide to win.

Goldikova is one of four European-based runners in the Mile. Another is Zacinto, who is seeking his first Grade 1 win. The American team includes two who won major stakes on Oct. 10 - Court Vision, the winner of the Grade 1 Shadwell Mile at Keeneland, and Cowboy Cal, who won the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile here.

Court Vision, who races from off the pace, drew the rail. Cowboy Cal drew post 3, and is likely to be prominent from the start, perhaps even setting the pace.

The Maktoum family's Godolphin Racing has two starters - the English stakes winner Delegator and the Dubai and Italian stakes winner Gladiatorus.

Delegator won the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood on Aug. 29, but was only third of four in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Sept. 26, finishing 4 1/2 lengths behind Rip Van Winkle, a top contender in Saturday's BC Classic.

"They went a slow pace and quickened up," Godolphin traveling manager Tommy Burns said of the Celebration. "They went a good pace at Ascot and that took away his turn of foot."

Gladiatorus won a Group 1, the Premio Vittorio di Capua at San Siro, Italy, over a mile on soft turf on Oct. 11, ending a four-race losing streak dating back to an upset win in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free in Dubai on March 28.

Burns was quick to describe the Italian race as a "confidence booster" for Gladiatorus. While the race may not have drawn the toughest field, "it's still progress," Burns said. "Hopefully, it will put him in good stead."

Gladiatorus is returning to a left-handed track at Santa Anita for the first time since his win in Dubai. His four subsequent starts were losses on a straightaway or a right-handed track.

Aside from Cowboy Cal, there are two locally based runners in the field - Ferneley and Whatsthescript.

Whatsthescript was third in the 2008 BC Mile, and third behind Cowboy Call in the Oak Tree Mile last month. Ferneley won the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile in August and was second to BC Filly and Mare Sprint hopeful Ventura in the Woodbine Mile on Sept. 20. For Saturday's race, Ferneley drew post 7, which is farther outside than trainer Ben Cecil would have preferred.

"I'd like to be a little lower, 6 or lower," Cecil said. "I think he'll run well."

Asked if Ferneley was capable of finishing in the first three, Cecil said, "I think he can."

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