01/24/2004 12:00AM

Valentine Dancer gets a ride

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Valentine Dancer wins the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf on Saturday at Santa Anita Park.

ARCADIA, Calif. - It did not take long for jockey Jon Court to get to know Valentine Dancer at Santa Anita on Saturday.

A race-day replacement for the suspended Patrick Valenzuela, Court rode Valentine Dancer for the first time in the $500,000 . He gave her a perfect ride to score a narrow victory.

Valentine Dancer ($10.80) finished 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:46.31, the only win of the day at Santa Anita by a California-bred in the four-race Sunshine Millions series against Florida-breds.

Valentine Dancer finished three-quarters of a length in front of the runner-up, Moscow Burning. Bartok's Blithe, at 61-1 the longest shot in the field, finished third, giving California-breds a sweep of the first three positions.

The top finish by a Florida-bred in the race was Fencelineneighbor, who was fourth in the field of 11.

Court had Valentine Dancer well-placed throughout, stalking the quick pace of 23.12 and 46.62 seconds shared by Atlantic Ocean and All the Honor.

Valentine Dancer raced along the inside until early stretch, when Court brought his mount closer between Atlantic Ocean and All the Honor. Staying near the rail, Valentine Dancer took the lead in the final furlong and posted her third stakes win in her last four starts.

Atlantic Ocean, the 2-1 favorite, faded to finish 10th.

Owned by Al and Sandee Kirkwood and trained by Craig Lewis, Valentine Dancer has won 6 of 16 starts and $593,006. Her three stakes wins have come in restricted races.