08/05/2003 12:00AM

Classic an easy score for Lord Nelson

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Lord Nelson, under confident handling by Frank Fuentes, scored a decisive three-length victory in the $72,436 British Columbia Cup Classic, the feature race of seven stakes on B.C. Cup Day at Hastings on a beautiful Monday afternoon.

Sent off as the 1-2 favorite, Lord Nelson forced the early pace set by Leloup, took control on the middle of the turn, and was ridden out down the lane. Last year's Classic winner, Vernon Invader, rallied late to finish a nonthreatening second.

"I knew he was coming into the race in excellent shape, and when he's on his game he's pretty tough to beat around here," said his trainer, Dino Condilenios.

Final time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:49.90. Lord Nelson, owned by Russell and Lois Bennett, earned $43,462, bringing his lifetime total to $421,184.

Dancewithavixen, owned and trained by Tom Longstaff, put on the most impressive performance of the day, winning the fillies division of the B.C. Cup Stallion Stakes by 5 3/4 lengths under high weight of 124 pounds. She battled through sprint-like fractions with Dee's Love before drawing off in the stretch. Chorus Dancer finished second. Dancewithavixen's final time of 1:45.03 for the 1 1/16 miles was faster than it took for Roscoe Pito win the colts and geldings division. She was ridden by Felipe Valdez and paid $3.10.

In the most exciting race of the day, Roscoe Pito ($4) withstood a determined challenge from Illusive Force to win his division of the Stallion Stakes by a neck. Final time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:45.35.

Proud Son paid the best price of the day, $19.80, for his win in the B.C. Cup Nursery Stakes. Frozen in Time was an easy winner of the Debutante and paid $5.60 as the second choice to Perfect Illusion, who finished second.

Bold n' Keen went a very fast 1:15.83 to beat 7-5 favorite Celt in the 6 1/2-furlong B.C. Cup Sprint. He paid $9.30.

Shelby Madison ($6.40) became the undisputed leader of the filly and mare division with a four-length win in the B.C. Cup Distaff. It was her third straight first-place finish in a stakes race at Hastings, but only her second victory, as she had her number taken down in the Senate Appointee. Final time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:51.06.

Total handle for the day was $1,848,713, the highest since closing day in 1991.