12/15/2003 1:00AM

Valentine Dancer wins Cat's Cradle


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Valentine Dancer outfinished two game rivals in Super High and Cee's Valley Girl to win Sunday's $105,300 Cat's Cradle Handicap for California-breds at Hollywood Park.

The victory marked the second stakes win this fall for Valentine Dancer, who beat 3-year-old fillies in the Ramser Handicap on turf at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting in October.

The Cat's Cradle was Valentine Dancer's first stakes win against older fillies and mares.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Valentine Dancer ran 7 1-2 furlongs on the main track in a stakes record 1:27.97, finishing a head in front of 14-1 Super High, who was a nose in front of Cee's Valley Girl, the 2-1 favorite in the field of nine.

Valentine Dancer ran through traffic to reach contention in early stretch. Racing off the rail, she was a length behind Super High at the eighth pole and fought between Super High and Cee's Valley Girl to prevail.

"She was in an unenviable spot at the three-eighths pole," trainer Craig Lewis said. "Victor kept his cool."

Owned by Al and Sandee Kirkwood, Valentine Dancer has won 5 of 15 starts and $318,006.

Super High, the California-bred champion 3-year-old filly of 2002, ran her best race of the year to just miss. She is winless in five starts in 2003.