10/12/2005 11:00PM

Raylene looks prima in Ballerina


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - If Raylene runs her race, she's going to be very tough to beat in the Grade 3, $150,000 Ballerina Breeders' Cup at Hastings Saturday. A 5-year-old daughter of Tabasco Cat, Raylene looks like a standout over 10 other fillies and mares in the 1 1/8-mile feature.

There's no reason to think that Raylene won't run her usual race. Despite shipping all over the country, she shows up just about every time she runs, and according to her trainer, Rodney Haynes, she handled the trip to Vancouver just fine. She's coming off of a game win in the Matron Breeders' Cup at Assiniboia Downs, and the last time she finished out of the money was when she tried turf for the first time in the Grade 2 Canadian Handicap at Woodbine in September 2004.

A Kentucky-bred, Raylene has run well at Hastings. She beat the sensational Dancewithavixen in the Grade 3 British Columbia Breeders' Cup Oaks in 2003 and then finished a late-running fourth in the Ballerina the same year. From a Beyer standpoint, it's no contest, and with $783,175 in earnings, Raylene is more than a half-million dollars ahead of her nearest competitor, Summer Symphony, in money won.

"She's a special horse," said Haynes. "And she continues to amaze me. I never thought she would be able to catch the horse on the lead in Winnipeg, but she just dug in and somehow managed to get there in time."

Raylene will be ridden by Pedro Alvarado.

While Raylene looks like a standout, the field is a strong one. There are two other B.C. Oaks winners in the field, and nine of the 11 horses entered have won at least one stakes race this year.

Monashee, trained by Tracy McCarthy, won the Oaks this year, and Summer Symphony edged out her stablemate Socorro County in 2004. Socorro County has also been entered in the Ballerina. David Forster trains both Summer Symphony and Socorro County.

Summer Symphony appears to be the sharper of the two. She finished a fast-closing second to Pretty Meadow in the Delta Colleen Stakes Sept. 17.

Pretty Meadow is one of three very live horses entered by trainer Janet Armstrong. Along with Pretty Meadow, who is coming off of two straight stakes wins, Armstrong has entered Champagne Royale and Matriarch winner Stormented.

Karis Makaw, the top older filly or mare at Emerald, returns to Hastings following a brutal trip as the odds-on choice in the Delta Colleen.