09/25/2002 11:00PM

Aquita upset wouldn't surprise her trainer


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Robbie Anderson is a little biased when it comes to assessing the three fillies he has entered in Saturday's Sadie Diamond Futurity at Hastings Park.

Anderson trained Sophie J, who was one of the best fillies ever to race at Hastings. Her half-sister Aquita finished almost eight lengths behind entrymate Chorus Dancer when they faced each other in a maiden race on Sept. 7, but Anderson still thinks that Aquita could be the better of the two, and they face each other again in the Sadie Diamond. He has also entered Curtain Queen, but she's on the also-eligible list and will need two horses to scratch in order to run.

"I liked Aquita right from the start," said Anderson. "I know I was probably influenced because she's from the same family as Sophie J, but even when we were breaking them she always seemed like the better one."

Aquita's chances for Saturday were compromised when she drew post 11, but Anderson still feels she has a big shot. "She's just been improving daily, and remember, last year Beautiful Stranger won it from the 11-hole and Frank [Fuentes] also rode her."

Chorus Dancer couldn't have been more impressive than when she beat Aquita the last time they faced each other. She had shown a lot of potential in her three previous races but put it all together in her latest as she came from slightly off the pace to blow away her opposition. There's nothing wrong with her breeding, either, as she's out of Loud Dancer, a multiple stakes winner of $134,587, and is by Vying Victor, the leading sire in British Columbia. Both fillies were bred by their owners, Fred and Claurice Gumprich, who race their horses under Linwood Stables.

"Chorus Dancer is coming along nicely too," said Anderson. "But I think the wet track helped her a lot and I wouldn't mind if it rained Saturday."

'Whitelies' has a shot, if she makes it to gate

Anderson has won many stakes races at Hastings Park and in Seattle, but Rob Maybin, who has Wisperingwhitelies in the Sadie Diamond and Steady Smiler in the Jack Diamond Futurity, is looking for his first stakes win.

Maybin runs a small stable that usually consists of claiming horses, but he appears to have legitimate chances with Wisperingwhitelies and Steady Smiler.

Wisperingwhitelies is a smallish filly with an attitude. She was scratched four times for dumping her rider during the post parade before finally making it to the races. Then she was disqualified from second in her debut when she made a right turn at the top of the lane and almost dropped another horse. She didn't make any mistakes in her next start as she crushed a field of $15,000 maidens by 10 1/2 lengths.

"We call her 5 for 1," said Maybin. "I don't know if she's good enough to beat stakes horses but she's got a lot of heart and if she makes it out of the gate she should give them a run for their money."

Maybin thinks that Steady Smiler has a real good shot in the Jack Diamond Futurity. He looked like a winner at the head of the lane in the CTHS Sales Stakes but hung late and was caught just before the wire by Hammersmith. "He never changed leads down the lane and it cost him," said Maybin. "He's still learning and he's a big strong horse. He has a lot of potential and hopefully he'll live up to it on Saturday."

Dancewithavixen fresh and fit

Tom Longstaff bred, owns, and trains B.C. Debutante winner Dancewithavixen. She hasn't raced since Aug. 5 but she has been working extremely well, including a five-furlong move in 1:00.90 last Friday. Longstaff is happy with the way she's training up to the Sadie Diamond.

"I turned her out to avoid the PNE goings on," said Longstaff, referring to the annual Pacific National Exhibition fair that is held right next door to the racetrack, "and she's come back strong."

Dancewithavixen will run on Lasix for the first time Saturday. "She bled when she worked a few weeks ago, but her work last Friday was awesome and if she can get a good trip from the 10-hole she should be right there," Longstaff said.

Trainer files suit over horse's injury

Longstaff would have had the favorite for the Jack Diamond Futurity but Don't Pali Me injured himself in his stall and is turned out for the year. Longstaff blames the Pacific National Exhibition for Don't Pali Me's injury and has started litigation against the organization. Hastings Entertainment Inc. leases the racetrack from the city of Vancouver and the PNE is the actual landlord of the property.

"It would be very nice if the PNE would give us some advance warning when they are going to have events that are situated right next to the barn area," said Longstaff, who is stabled right next to the PNE grounds. "I knew the annual fair was coming and I moved my horses, but they never told us about the circus that's going on now and when they came along, without any warning, and started construction right next to where my horses are stabled, Don't Pali Me spooked and injured himself."

Don't Pali Me underwent surgery for a slab fracture and, according to Longstaff, it was successful. "Hopefully he'll be fine for next year," he said.