11/27/2003 1:00AM

Sharing horse of year title would be fitting


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Exceptional performances by Dancewithavixen and Roscoe Pito will make it hard for voters to choose a horse of the year in British Columbia this season.

Under normal circumstances, Roscoe Pito would have a lock on the title. Usually, a horse who wins both the British Columbia Derby and then beats older horses in the Premier's is given the award. But it's hard to get past the remarkable record that Dancewithavixen compiled in 2003.

In the recent President's Cup golf competition, where a team from the United States ended up in a tie with an international team, both captains agreed that since neither team deserved to lose, a tie was acceptable and they halted the sudden-death playoff that was in progress. There's certainly justification for the same precedent being set in British Columbia this year.

Here's a look at which horses will be the likely winners when the B.C. Thoroughbred Industry Awards dinner is held next spring.

Older Horse: Lord Nelson is a clear choice. He only won twice but he totally dominated his peers in both the Grade 3 Lieutenant Governor's and B.C. Cup Classic. He also ran a big race to finish third in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile at Emerald. He has been the best older horse in B.C. for the past three years.

Older filly or mare: Shelby Madison is another standout. She won three stakes and was disqualified from first and placed third in the Senate Appointee. Last year's horse of the year in B.C., Elana d'Amour, never really got untracked this year. She did win a couple of sprint stakes but couldn't keep up with Shelby Madison in the important races.

Three-year-old male and 3-year-old filly: Roscoe Pito and Dancewithavixen are the obvious winners. The only difference is that Dancewithavixen dominated the filly division from the beginning of the year while Roscoe Pito inherited his position when Stratoplan was injured and turned out in mid-summer following his win in the Seattle Slew Breeders' Cup at Emerald on Aug. 10. Stratoplan had easily beaten Roscoe Pito in the Burnaby Breeders' Cup in his previous start.

Two-year-old colts and geldings: By virtue of his win in the Jack Diamond Futurity, Lord Samarai gets the nod over Proud Son. Lord Samarai and Proud Son had split the four stakes for 2-year-olds prior to the Futurity. Joyride deserves honorable mention. He might have been best in the Futurity but lost any chance he had when he was forced to check sharply at the top of the stretch. He redeemed himself with a win in the Ascot Graduation but one stakes win isn't enough to earn the title.

Two-year-old filly: Six stakes races in this division at Hastings produced six different winners. In the hardest division to choose a winner, the vote could go to Comic Opera. She missed by a neck in the Sadie Diamond Futurity and won the Fantasy, which is the only middle-distance stakes for 2-year-old fillies at the meet. She also nosed out Sadie Diamond Futurity winner She's a Bombshell for the most money won.

Sprinter: Bold 'n Keen was the best sprinter at Hastings this year. He scored an impressive win over Celt in the B.C. Cup Sprint and also won the Hong Kong Jockey Club by a neck over Commodore Craig with Lord Nelson finishing third. Celt was the fastest horse for a half-mile, and did beat Bold 'n Keen in a $50,000 optional race July 1, but he never won a stakes.

Jockey: For the second year in a row Pedro Alvarado is well deserving of his leading rider status. It would be hard to find a jockey anywhere who works as hard. He's at the track first thing every morning, works more horses than any other rider here, and it shows in the afternoons. He consistently moves horses up and nobody at Hastings gets them out of the gate better.

Apprentice: Nicola Wright lost her bug in August but should win the apprentice title for the second straight year. She also deserves the Sovereign Award for the top apprentice in Canada. Wright didn't slow down when she lost her bug. In fact, since losing her five-pound apprentice allowance she has won races at a higher rate than when she had the bug.

Trainer: Dino Condilenios will win his first training title. Condilenios, 32, has been creeping up the standings in recent years, and having a barn full of young horses with conditions helped move him to the top. Once again he did a great job keeping Lord Nelson, who has recurring problems with his feet, at the top of his game.