08/23/2001 11:00PM

Fireworks and monster trucks - what is a colt to do?


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - In a twist of fate, Dancewithavictor will make his first start since winning the 1999 B.C. Nursery in Sunday's Pacific National Exhibition Speed Handicap. According to Dancewithavictor's owner, Paul Minichiello, the Pacific National Exhibition is to blame for the injuries that have kept Dancewithavictor out of action for over two years, and he is pursuing legal action against them.

Dancewithavictor, who is trained by Terry Jordan, was very impressive winning his first three starts as a 2-year-old in 1999 and was considered the odds-on choice to win the $100,000 Jack Diamond Futurity. But he injured his cannon bone when he allegedly kicked the walls of his stall in response to the sound of fireworks at the PNE, which is located adjacent to Hastings Park. Jordan's stalls are within earshot of where the PNE has held events like Demolition Derbies, logger shows featuring chain-saw competitions, and this year, loud monster truck demonstrations. But according to Minichiello it was the noise from the opening-night fireworks in 1999 that spooked Dancewithavictor and caused him to injure himself.

"I am suing them for the cost of his care, and also for the loss of potential winnings," he said. "He won all three of his races before he was injured and who knows how much he would have won. He looked like a standout heading into the Futurity and if he had become Canadian Champion, he would have been worth a lot of money."

Pete Gregory, who is Jordan's assistant trainer, reports that Dancewithavictor is training "awesome" but he wasn't sure how the horse would fare facing seasoned stakes horses like King Jeremy.

"He's really come around in the last six weeks," said Gregory. "His three-furlong blowout the other day, [34.40 seconds], over a sloppy track was tremendous. We'll just have to see how he handles the competition. I wish we could have gotten him to the races a little sooner so he wouldn't have to make his first start against stakes horses and he could have stepped in for Rampaging Alf who we turned out for the year with quarter cracks." Rampaging Alf is also owned by Minichiello.

Gregory said that for the most part Dancewithavictor is handling the racket from the PNE a lot better than when he was 2, but he did get a little agitated when the monster trucks were revving up Thursday evening. "He's more mature as a 4-year-old, but as he's gotten closer to running, he's started to get a little wound up."

Last season King Jeremy dominated the local 3-year-olds and was accorded the Applebee trophy as British Columbia's horse of the year. Like many horses before him, he's found it more difficult tackling older horses and has only managed to win one stakes race as a 4-year-old.

"It's been a little disappointing," said his trainer Robbie Anderson. "But it's not that he's running bad, it's just that he's facing a tougher group of horses."

King Jeremy certainly doesn't have any reason to be ashamed. He tries hard every time and has been in the money in all of his races, except when he ran over a sloppy track.

"He just doesn't handle a wet track," said Anderson. "I hated to scratch him out of the B.C. Cup Classic, but when it came up wet I knew we would be wasting our time."

Anderson doesn't think that he'll be wasting his time Sunday. "He worked a really good five furlongs in 59 and change [59.60, Aug. 15] and has been training great."

King Jeremy is owned by Bold Four Thoroughbreds and Russ Arnet. Bold Four is made up of five partners and for a couple of them he's their first horse. "It's been tough on the ones who have never owned horses before," said Anderson. "They don't understand that there's a big difference between running against what might have been a weak 3-year-old division last year as opposed to a pretty tough group of older horses."

Lord Nelson looks like the leader of the older horse division and, according to his trainer Dino Condilenios, he'll make his next start in the Randall Plate Sept. 3. He also said that multiple stakes-winning Queen of My Nights has been turned out for the year with quarter cracks.