05/27/2005 11:00PM

'Dancer' finally gets her trip


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Valentine Dancer has won two stakes and placed in two others in four starts this year, and has not yet raced over her best distance. That will change on Monday, when the millionaire mare takes on Katdogawn in the Grade 3, $200,000 WinStar Distaff at Lone Star Park.

The one-mile turf race for fillies and mares is one of six stakes that make up the annual Lone Star Million Day program, and it is the first half of a special daily double with the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap.

raced 1 1/16 miles in her last start, winning the $150,000 Fran's Valentine at Hollywood Park on April 24. Before that race, she was third to Megahertz in the Grade 2 Santa Ana at 1 1/8 miles on March 20 and won her second straight $500,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf at 1 1/8 miles on Jan. 29.

"She's really a true miler," said Craig Lewis, who trains Valentine Dancer. "She's been able to run further just because she has so much class. But a mile is really what she likes and what she wants."

So, Valentine Dancer's connections searched for a race that best suited her, and decided to ship in for the WinStar.

"This looked like a very, very good spot for her," said Lewis.

Valentine Dancer shows a strong series of works at Santa Anita in the five weeks since her last start. She figures to be forwardly placed Monday by jockey Jon Court.

"She's got a lot of speed if we want to use it, so usually we're in a pretty good position with her in these races," said Lewis. "Depending on what the pace looks like, we can either get her fairly close to the lead, or we can get her to settle off the pace a little bit. Her best trip, if everything were to be ideal, would be a good stalking trip, where she would stalk the pacemakers or pacemaker and just pounce on them when the running starts."

Valentine Dancer is co-highweighted at 120 pounds with multiple Grade 2 winner , who in her last start finished fifth in the Grade 3 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland. One race prior, Katdogawn was second in the Santa Ana. She has a strong kick, and figures to be coming for Valentine Dancer in the late stages. Jerry Bailey has the mount for trainer Wally Dollase.