07/07/2005 12:00AM

Smile should be crowded up front

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Don Six may be the speed of a flock of speedy sprinters in Saturday's Grade 2 Smile Handicap.

MIAMI - Something may have to give when front-runners Don Six, Abbondanza, Woke Up Dreamin, and Toscani square off, along with six others, in Saturday's $500,000 at Calder. The Grade 2 Smile will be decided at six furlongs.

Neither Don Six nor Toscani has been outsprinted to the lead in his last six starts, Abbondanza was the pacesetter in the 2004 Breeders' Cup Sprint, while Woke Up Dreamin is coming off a wire-to-wire victory in the Grade 2 True North Handicap at Belmont. Add the fleet Gregson to the mix and the key question is whether any of the likely favorites can survive what figures to be a torrid pace battle.

Don Six and Toscani are uncoupled stablemates from the barn of trainer Scott Lake, who won the 2003 Smile with Shake You Down. While Lake concedes it will be tough to keep Don Six off the lead again, he is hopeful Toscani might be able to rate and pick up the pieces should the pace get too hot.

"I think Toscani can come off the pace a little bit, although I would rather he had not drawn the rail," said Lake. "Don Six is simply awesome. Once he gets rolling you just can't slow him down on the lead, and breaking from the extreme outside should be to his advantage."

Don Six is the 118-pound highweight in the Smile, having won the Paumonok and Longfellow handicaps and finishing third behind Forest Danger in the Grade 1 Carter this year.

Abbondanza, who will be ridden by Jerry Bailey for the first time, led into the stretch before tiring to finish 11th in the 2004 BC Sprint. He has registered a win and a second in two starts, both against allowance company at Pimlico, since returning from a six-month layoff earlier this spring.

Woke Up Dreamin survived an early pace battle before edging away to a two-length victory in the True North. The win was the third in the last four starts for Woke Up Dreamin, who is trained by Bob Baffert and will again be ridden by Mike Smith.

No locally based horse has won the Smile since it was added to the Summit of Speed in 2003, but this year's contingent is a strong one, led by Silver Wagon and Nightmare Affair, both of whom should benefit from a hotly contested pace.

Silver Wagon is coming off a second-place finish behind Ghostzapper in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap which earned him a career-best 110 Beyer Speed Figure. The Smile will be his first start at six furlongs.

"This race is a little bit short for him, but he's coming in really good," said trainer Ralph Ziadie. "I've also changed his training style a little to put a little more speed into him for this race."

The field

Smile Sprint Handicap
Purse: $500,000; 6 furlongs; Grade 2

1ToscaniJ. Lezcano11310-1
2Silver WagonC. Velasquez1164-1
3GregsonM . Cruz11320-1
4Woke Up DreaminM. Smith1175-2
5Mister FotisJ. Chavez11110-1
6HitthegroundrunninS. Madrid11150-1
7Nightmare AffairE. Castro11312-1
8AbbondanzaJ. Bailey1147-2
9Paradise DancerC. Penalba11320-1
10Don SixA. Gryder1189-2

* Odds by Kenny Peck