12/14/2005 12:00AM

Title defense won't come easy for Dreadnaught

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MIAMI - Dreadnaught is coming back to defend his title Saturday in the Grade 2, $200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap at Calder. But even trainer Tom Voss admits Dreadnaught will have to be at his best to defeat a full, Grade 1-caliber field in this year's edition of the McKnight.

A 1 1/2-mile race, the McKnight and its filly counterpart, the $200,000 La Prevoyante, highlight Saturday's Grand Slam II card at Calder, which also includes the Grade 3, $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap and the $100,000 Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap.

Dreadnaught rallied from midpack to outfinish Demeteor and Scooter Roach and post a neck decision in the 2004 McKnight. Both of those rivals return Saturday, but they figure to be among the longshots in a field that includes Grade 1 winner Meteor Storm, the Grade 1-placed Silverfoot, and Grade 2 winner Revved Up.

"He's doing great and seems to thrive as the year winds down and the weather turns colder up here in Maryland," Voss said of Dread-naught. "There's little doubt this field is tougher than when we won last year, and my horse is going to have to be at his very best to beat Meteor Storm. Revved Up is very good, too, although I think we're about even up with him. A lot will have to do with who gets the best trip."

Jean Luc Samyn, who orchestrated a perfect trip for Dreadnaught to win last year's renewal, will have the call again Saturday.

Dreadnaught drew post 7 in a field of 12 when entries were drawn for the McKnight on Wednesday. The race also lured four also-eligibles.

Meteor Storm, who will be seeking his first victory since upsetting the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap in June 2004, will break from post 11 under Javier Castellano. Meteor Storm will carry high weight of 118 pounds, one more than Silverfoot and Revved Up and two more than Dreadnaught.

Revved Up stretches out to perhaps his most effective distance after scoring a 2 1/2-length victory going 1 1/8 miles here in the Bonnie Heath Turf Cup on Nov. 12. He has won three of his five starts going 1 1/2 miles.

Silverfoot, second earlier this year in the Grade 1 United Nations, has not started since finishing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Film Maker, third and second in the last two editions of the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, will be the heavy favorite to beat 11 rivals in the Grade 2 La Prevoyante. She will carry high weight of 119 pounds and jockey Edgar Prado while conceding up to seven pounds to her opponents, which include Grade 1 winner Moscow Burning and Spotlight.

Film Maker has captured just one of six starts this year, but has encountered tough racing luck on several occasions. Aside from another big performance in the Breeders' Cup, she was also third in the

Grade 1 Flower Bowl and fourth in the Grade 1 Diana.

Trainer Nick Zito will send out the favored entry of Seek Gold and Andromeda's Hero against nine rivals in the 1 1/8-mile Hooper. The field also includes co-highweights Whos Crying Now and Supervisor, uncoupled stablemates who are coming off a one-two finish in the Carl G. Rose Classic here last month.

Silver Wagon drew the tough inside post for the fourth time in his last five starts, but he still figures to be a heavy favorite to win the seven-furlong Kenny Noe. Silver Wagon has held his own against Grade 1 company on several occasions this season and is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile.

Storm Surge, a Grade 3 winner in his 2005 debut and the only 3-year-old in the field, and New York invader Kennel Up may provide Silver Wagon with his stiffest competition.