06/25/2003 11:00PM

Gamblin Caper's loss last out led to Burnaby

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Last year, Lord Shogun had a pretty easy time rolling up wins in the Canadian Prairies. He faced pretty soft opposition in both the Alberta and Manitoba derbies and was never really threatened as he cruised to front-running wins in both races.

Terry Jordan was hoping to follow the same path with Gamblin Caper, who will be one of the favorites in the $75,000 Burnaby Breeders' Cup at Hastings Park Saturday, but he has changed his plans after running into a buzz saw named Taiaslew in the Alberta Derby two weeks ago. Watching the race from Hastings, it appeared that Gamblin Caper might not have been as sharp as usual, but Jordan makes no apologies nor offers any excuses for Gamblin Caper's second-place finish.

"He ran into a monster," Jordan said. "It's as simple as that. He handled everything fine except for the horse.

"After Taiaslew broke from the gate, his rider started pulling him up - and it took him a lap and a half to do it," he said. "He won with a bow in his neck, and if he had ever been asked to run, he would have shattered the track record. He's easily the best horse in Western Canada right now, and I don't want any part of that action."

Following the Alberta Derby, Jordan was planning to skip the Burnaby, but the trip to Alberta didn't appear to take too much out of Gamblin Caper, and Jordan changed his mind at the last minute.

"I thought it would affect him more than it did," Jordan said, "but he bounced back sooner than I expected, so we'll give him a shot."

Chorus Dancer needs turnaround

In the co-feature Saturday, the $40,000 Liberation, trainer Robbie Anderson is hoping to get 2002 local champ Chorus Dancer back on track.

She has started twice this year, and her best finish so far was a distant fourth to Dancewithavixen in the 6 1/2-furlong Supernaturel Stakes on May 19. She won the only middle-distance race for 2-year-old fillies last year, and Anderson said he hopes the change in distance, to 1 1/16 miles, will help turn her around.

"She actually ran a better race in her last start," he said, referring to the June 7 Emerald Downs Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs. "She made a big move at the quarter pole, and it looked like she was going to blow right by them. But the pace was pretty slow, and maybe that's why she kind of hung. She should improve going a distance, and she's been training well enough."

Chorus Dancer is owned by her breeders, Fred and Claurice Gumprich of Linwood Stables. They will also run 2002 Sadie Diamond Futurity winner Aquita in the Liberation.

Aquita also has had a disappointing start this year, but according to Anderson she has had some excuses, and he's expecting better things for her in the future.

"She had traffic trouble in her first two races, and for some reason she was hitting herself behind," he said. "I think she was having a hard time handling the surface and that caused the hitting behind, but she ran a better race last time - third in the Emerald Downs - and hopefully she'll be able to atone for herself."

Aquita has more speed than Chorus Dancer and will likely be up near the pace, but Anderson said he doesn't think Chorus Dancer will be too far out of it, either.

"I don't think they will be going that fast early, so she should be relatively close to the front," he said.

Whether the pace is fast or slow, the horse that they all have to deal with is Dancewithavixen. She was an easy winner of a 1 1/16-mile allowance race June 14, and, although she will be making her third start in just three weeks, owner-trainer Tom Longstaff needed to send her out for a maintenance move June 23 just to keep the lid on tight. Her exercise rider, Corky Russell, had a firm hold on her as she clocked a half-mile in 48.40 seconds.

"I couldn't find a race for her," Longstaff said jokingly, referring to the work. "What can I say about her. She's a monster, and I'm glad to have her."