07/09/2005 11:00PM

Woke Up Dreamin gets perfect set up

Jim Lisa Photos
Favored Woke Up Dreamin ($5.20) wins the Grade 2, $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap under rider Mike Smith at Calder on Sunday.

MIAMI, Fla. - Jockeys and trainers often go into races with plans in mind that never comes to fruition once the gates open. But for jockey Mike Smith and trainer Bob Baffert, their pre-race strategy for Sunday's $500,000 worked to perfection helping Woke Up Dreamin post a three length victory over longshot Toscani in the Grade 2 dash.

Smith and Baffert knew their horse has a tendency to break a step slow. It was also no secret there was a ton of speed in the six furlong Smile. So the plan was to get Woke Up Dreamin away alertly, settled off the early pace and then try to run down the leaders through the stretch. And that's exactly how the race transpired.

"He's a big horse who sometimes doesn't get out of the gate quickly but today he was ready just as they sprung the latch and we left there about a half length in front of the field," said Smith who last month rode Woke Up Dreamin to a two length victory in Belmont's Grade 2 True North Handicap. "I knew Don Six would eventually come up on my outside and I was just hoping to leave myself enough room to get away from the others and then make a run at the end. The plan worked out perfectly."

Woke Up Dreamin was briefly in a four way battle for the early lead along with Toscani, Gregson and Don Six before Smith eased his horseoff the leaders after an opening quarter mile completed in a swift :21.18 seconds. Don Six and his uncoupled stablemate Toscani continued to battle on the front end through a half mile split in :43.92 but Smith had Woke Up Dreamin in perfect stalking position outside the top pair around the turn. Once entering the stretch, Woke Up Dreamin gradually asserted his superiority, edging away from Toscani to the easy win.

Toscani held gamely along the rail to easily finish second, 3 1/4 lengths in front of Nigthmare Affair who was bumped soundly after the start. Don Six, the 118 pound highweight, weakened badly once losing the lead and finished fifth in a field reduced to nine starters following the late scratch of Silver Wagon.

Woke Up Dreamin, a 5-year-old son of Holy Bull, covered six furlongs in 1:09.80 over the fast track and returned $5.20 as the favorite.

"Bob talked to Mike the other day and told him this horse will rate," said Tanya Terranova who saddled Woke Up Dreamin in Baffert's absence. "We worked him at Belmont a couple of weeks ago with Roman Ruler and he broke off about a half length behind then finished up evenly with both of them going just awesome together."