06/10/2006 12:00AM

Paradise Dancer looks best


MIAMI - A year ago Paradise Dancer was among the leading members of the local sprint handicap division, held in high enough regard by his connections to get a starting berth in the 2005 Smile Sprint Handicap. Now 6, Paradise Dancer may have lost a few steps since that time, but is still good enough to be considered the horse to beat in Monday's $30,000 feature, to be decided at 6 1/2 furlongs under third-level optional claiming and allowance conditions.

Paradise Dancer finished sixth, beaten 10 1/2 lengths by Woke Up Dreamin, in the Grade 2 Smile last July. He switched barns shortly after the race, moving to his current home under the shed of veteran trainer Richard Root.

A son of Langfuhr, Paradise Dancer was stakes-placed in three consecutive outings to close out his 2005 campaign. After a couple of off-the-board finishes to begin the current season, he looked like his old self when he outgamed Kopper Kilgoar to win by a nose on May 29 in a dash with conditions similar to those of Monday's main event.

Kopper Kilgoar will be out to gain a measure of revenge in this quick rematch with Paradise Dancer, while receiving a three-pound weight shift in his favor off the pair's previous encounter.

A 4-year-old Notebook gelding, Kopper Kilgoar has never been better, winning his three previous starts before being narrowly defeated by Paradise Dancer two weeks ago.

Eternal Look, a come-from-behind winner against slightly softer optional claiming and allowance competition on May 19, steps up in company but could be dangerous if the pace is hot. The win came in the 8-year-old's first start since being turned over to trainer Stephen DiMauro this spring.

Lucky Frolic figures to have a say in the early pace if able to break cleanly from the rail. Anice's Finale steps up in company despite having been beaten by Eternal Look and Kopper Kilgoar in each of his two previous starts. Hal's Image turns back to a sprint after being well beaten in seven starts around two turns.

Miesque's Approval to Firecracker

Trainer Marty Wolfson confirmed that Miesque's Approval will make his next start in Churchill Downs's Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap on July 1. The Firecracker is a Grade 2 race at one mile on turf.

The vastly improved Miesque's Approval has won two of his last three starts, upsetting Silver Tree to win the Sunshine Millions Turf and reigning Breeders' Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller to win the Grade 2 Maker's Mark Mile on April 14. His lone defeat this year was to Grade 1 winner English Channel, when he finished second, beaten less than a length, in Gulfstream Park's Canadian Turf Handicap.