04/24/2003 11:00PM

Aquita ready but 'Dancer' has ways to go


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Aquita and Chorus Dancer were a nice one-two punch in the 2-year-old filly division for trainer Robbie Anderson at Hastings in 2002. Aquita won the Sadie Diamond Futurity, the richest race in the division, and Chorus Dancer captured the Fantasy.

While the Sadie Diamond is worth more money, the Fantasy, which is the only middle-distance race for 2-year-old fillies here, holds more sway when it comes to voting for divisional honors. Following her win, Chorus Dancer was named top 2-year-old filly in the province. Aquita will make her first start as a 3-year-old next Saturday in the $40,000 Fair Lady Stakes, but it will be a while longer before we see Chorus Dancer.

"Aquita is training extremely well right now and I expect her to run a good race in the Fair Lady," said Anderson. "Chorus Dancer had a small setback when she developed a puss pocket in the bottom of her foot. She's fine now and I sent her out to work an easy half-mile this morning."

Anderson wasn't too concerned that Chorus Dancer won't be ready for the Fair Lady, because his long range goal for her is the $150,000, Grade 3 B.C. Breeders' Cup Oaks Sep. 20.

He's not sure where Aquita will run after the Fair Lady.

"It's hard to say about Aquita," he said. "She finished third in the Fantasy, but I'm not sure if she'll be a top horse going long. She's matured quite a bit but we'll just have to wait and see."

Robert VanOverschot has two horses nominated to the Fair Lady but will likely only run one of them. Dee's Love has the most experience of the two and she finished second to Aquita in the Sadie Diamond. Ruby's Orchid started only once but showed a lot of potential with a front-running win over Chorus Dancer in a no-tag maiden race last July.

"I'm leaning toward running Dee's Love, only because I think she might have distance limitations, and Ruby's Orchid is a pretty relaxed horse and shouldn't have any trouble stretching out," VanOverschot said. "They're both eligible for a nonwinners of two and I really don't want to run them against each other."

The mercurial Lady's Jewel

Lady's Jewel, who is likely one of the favorites in the seventh race Sunday, started only once last year, but it wasn't for lack of trying. She's always had a lot of talent but is also temperamental, and twice last season she dumped her rider in the post parade and was scratched. It was a year her trainer and part-owner, Andrew Collins, would like to forget.

"She was just in a bad frame of mind all year," said Collins. "She really went sour after I shipped her to Emerald for a race in June where she dumped the rider, and just never really recovered. I thought I had her figured out but then she did it again when I brought her back home."

Collins isn't sure where she stands this year. "Some days she trains beautifully and then other times she's just not interested," he said. "I have no expectations."

He does have a lot of confidence in her rider, Chris Loseth, though. "He's happy to be riding her and he's not worried about how she behaves on post parade," Collins said. "There's plenty of cowboy in Chris and I'm sure he'll get her to the gate at least."

Shacane ready for 2003 debut - at Hollywood Park

Shacane, who won provincial honors as the top 3-year-old in 2002, is about ready to start. It won't be here, though. This winter he was sent to California to trainer Laura de Seroux. She plans to run him at Hollywood Park in either the $100,000 Inglewood May 3, or the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy, May 10. Both races are at 1 1/16 miles.

"I was hoping to run him in a classified allowance but I've entered him five times and the races haven't filled," de Seroux said. "He's bred for the turf and he's worked well on it, so I would certainly like to try him on it. The Inglewood is on the turf but I'm going to see how both races shape up before I make my decision."

She wasn't sure how Shacane would fit in the tough Southern California stakes circuit, but said that he was training well.

"We were told that he's not much of a work horse, but he's kept up with everything we've worked him with and we have some pretty nice horses," she said.