10/15/2003 11:00PM

Dancewithavixen gets even with Raylene


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The day after Dancewithavixen finished second by a neck to Raylene in the British Columbia Breeders' Cup Oaks, Dancewithavixen's trainer and owner, Tom Longstaff, was itching for a rematch.

It's not that Longstaff was slighting the race that Raylene had run in the Oaks. "That's a very nice filly that beat her," Longstaff said at the time.

But, he believed that if they met again Dancewithavixen, who had a two-length advantage entering the stretch in the Oaks, would win. Dancewithavixen, with Felipe Valdez aboard, proved Longstaff right when she came back with a win by a neck over Secondary School in the Ballerina Breeders' Cup here last Saturday. Raylene finished fourth.

Longstaff had his reasons for being confident that Dancewithavixen could turn the tables on Raylene in the Ballerina.

"Some people wanted to blame Felipe for moving her too soon in the Oaks, but I thought he rode her perfectly," he said. "It's just that she's won all of her races so easily this year that she probably figured the race was over midstretch. She just never saw Raylene coming until it was too late."

In order to help Dancewithavixen see her competition better, Longstaff made a slight adjustment to the blinkers she wears.

"I just cut them back a bit," he said. "I couldn't take them off - she would probably throw Felipe off if I did that - but by cutting them back slightly it allows her to see if anyone's making a move at her."

It seemed to do the trick. It also helped that Valdez gave her a brilliant ride. With Grace for You setting quick fractions, Valdez tucked Dancewithavixen just behind her, and more importantly, he had Shelby Madison, the top older mare in the province, bottled up inside with nowhere to go. When Grace for You tired, Dancewithavixen took over the lead without urging. Shelby Madison cleared, joined Dancewithavixen at the quarter pole, and actually put her head in front when they reached the top of the stretch.

"The change in the blinkers made all the difference," said Valdez. "When Shelby Madison tried to go past her at the top of the stretch she just dug in. And then when Secondary School came at her late, she re-broke again."

Longstaff reported that Dancewithavixen came out of the Ballerina in fine shape and he is now weighing her options. One is the $150,000 Jammed Lovely for Canadian-breds at Woodbine Nov. 2.

"If it's not too expensive to get her back there, I would consider running," he said. "If not, I'm going to send her to a training center in California, where I can turn her out for a while. They have a swimming pool where they swim her every other day, so she should stay relatively fit while she's getting a well-deserved rest. I'd like to try her on the turf down there before I bring her back up here next year."

Roscoe Pito earns a vacation

Roscoe Pito is going to get a break after his win in the 1 3/8-mile Premier's last Sunday.

"He came out of it pretty tired," said John Snow, his trainer. "We're going to turn him out for a few weeks and then probably head to California."

Northern California is usually where trainers from the Pacific Northwest spend their winters, but Snow's uncle, Daryl, who has raced in Northern California for many years, advised John to take Roscoe Pito to Southern California.

"Daryl said that in Northern California you either need a top-notch stakes horse or a claimer," said Snow. "But in Southern California, there are a lot more options. You can avoid the real tough ones by running in overnight races and there are Grade 3 races which sometimes come up light."

Both Dancewithavixen and Roscoe Pito are cinches for divisional honors in British Columbia. Roscoe Pito doesn't have a chance of beating Wando for a Sovereign Award, but Dancewithavixen has a good shot at the 3-year-old filly award.