08/27/2004 12:00AM

Beware: Regal Red just prepping


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Following an easy win in the fillies division of the Stallion Stakes at Hastings Racecourse on Aug. 2, 3-year-old filly sensation Regal Red was forced to the sidelines with a bruised hoof. There's a good chance she will return in the 6 1/2-furlong Cover Girl Stakes for fillies and mares next Sunday.

If Regal Red starts in the Cover Girl, she will likely be a strong favorite even though it will be her first time trying older horses. It should be remembered, though, that her trainer, Robbie Anderson, is viewing the Cover Girl as a prep for the $150,000 Breeders' Cup B.C. Oaks on Sept. 25.

"She missed some training, and it would be nice to get a race into her before the Oaks," Anderson said. "We tubbed her in ice for about 10 days and she seems fine now, but she's only been back on the track for about a week."

There are a couple of reasons Anderson is considering running Regal Red against older fillies and mares. Because of all the training she missed, she's probably a little short to take on her own age group in the 1 1/16-mile Oaks Preview, which also goes next Sunday. Plus, she should get a break in the weights running against older horses. She carried 124 pounds when she won the Stallion Stakes by six lengths and would have to carry more weight if she ran against horses she has dominated all season. Regal Red has been nominated to the Oaks Preview but isn't likely to run there.

"We're going go work her this week and see how she's doing before we decide to run or not," he said. "She missed a lot of training, and it's hard to say just how far along she's come. She seems perfectly sound, though, and it just depends on how well she works."

One of the horses she will not be facing is the leader of the older female division, Dancewithavixen, who was vanned off following her easy win in the B.C. Cup Distaff. Trainer Tom Longstaff said the injury wasn't serious - and Dancewithavixen was put back in training.

"She just hasn't come back from her morning exercises the way I would like," Longstaff said. "She gallops nicely, but you can see that the check ligaments are still bothering her so I've turned her out for the year. It's not that big of a problem, but she needs time off in order for it to heal properly. We'll give her the rest of the year and put her back in training next winter. She's been pretty good to us so I don't want to push her."

Dancewithavixen goes home with $496,039 in career earnings and will surely be named the champion older filly or mare at Hastings for 2004.

Illusive Force, winner of the 1 5/16-mile Westerner Handicap at Northlands Park last Sunday, will return there to run in the $100,000 Speed to Spare on Sept. 11. A son of Yoonevano, Illusive Force was the champion 2-year-old in B.C., but his quest to win the Queen's Plate at Woodbine last year obviously took its toll. He's back on track now with two straight stakes wins. His win in the B.C. Cup Classic on Aug. 2 was his first since he beat Five Point Star in the City of Vancouver Stakes May 10, 2003.

"He's doing awesome right now," trainer Rob VanOverschot said. "He came out of the Westerner better than he did in the Classic. He'll probably run twice more this year, the Speed to Spare and then the Premiers."

Illusive Force's usual rider David Wilson opted to ride Gratitude Attack in the Longacres Mile last weekend, and Quincy Welch picked up the mount in Edmonton. According to VanOverschot, Welch will ride Illusive Force in both the Speed to Spare and Premiers.

The $100,000 Premiers is scheduled for Oct. 17 at Hastings.

Lord Nelson a Randall Plate definite

Leading trainer Dino Condilenios has nominated both Lord Nelson and Five Point Star to the S.W. Randall Plate, which goes Monday, Sept. 6.

"Lord Nelson is a definite starter," Condilenios said. "But I'm not so sure about Five Point Star. He's had two hard races in a row, and I'm not sure he's ready to tackle Lord Nelson at nine furlongs just yet."