09/23/2005 12:00AM

Quick pace could suit 'Smiler'


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Steady Smiler has earned $257,843 for his owner and trainer Robert Maybin - the hard way. A lot of his earnings have come from picking up minor awards in stakes races. But when he drops into races that do not include the best horses at Hastings, he's one tough customer.

Steady Smiler figures to be favored over four others in Sunday's feature race, a $50,000 optional race at 1 1/16 miles that goes as the ninth race.

Steady Smiler is winless this year, but he's coming off a good second-place finish behind Trick of the North in a $50,000 optional route on Sept. 5. A 5-year-old gelding, Steady Smiler will need an honest pace to set up his good late kick, and he could get it. Maxwell, a speedster, is in the field, and the pace should be pretty quick in the early stages of the race.

Richard Hamel will ride Steady Smiler.

Maxwell has tried three turns a couple of times in his career, and both times he has shown some speed but wilted when the real running started. Nevertheless, he's coming off two good sprints, and with leading rider Justin Stein taking the call at a very light 111 pounds, he could take them a long way.

Silver Donn was 20-1 in the same race that Steady Smiler comes out of, but he will be a much shorter price Sunday. Trained by Robert Rohmahn, Silver Donn made what looked like a winning move to take a 2 1/2-length lead into the stretch, but tired to finish third, just a nose behind Steady Smiler.