06/16/2004 11:00PM

Victor's Secret ready to seize division


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The time seems to have arrived for Victor's Secret, who figures to be a very short favorite in the Brighouse Belles this Saturday at Hastings.

A 5-year-old mare, Victor's Secret ran in the shadows of Shelby Madison last year, and it appeared she would have to take second fiddle to Dancewithavixen in the filly and mare division at Hastings this season. If her two starts this year are any indication, however, Victor's Secret could be the one they're chasing for divisional honors this season.

Victor's Secret has had two tremendous races this year, finishing second to Dancewithavixen in the Sun Handicap on May 1 and winning easily in a restricted allowance race May 29. Her latest win suggests she has moved her game to a new level. Showing uncharacteristic speed, Victor's Secret went right to the front and just widened over Shelby Madison. That effort had her trainer, Lance Giesbrecht, shaking his head.

"She's had speed, but we've never seen that kind of speed against those kind of horses," he said. "I'm not sure where it came from, but it's good. It shows versatility. We know she can come from off of it, so this gives us some other options."

Victor's Secret was an average horse last year at 3, starting six times with just a maiden win to her credit. She began her 4-year-old season with a win over $25,000 claimers, and, after beating multiple stakes winner Catahoula Rose in a 1 1/16-mile optional race in June, Giesbrecht gave her a shot with stakes horses in the Senate Appointee. Victor's Secret showed she belonged by finishing third, and she might have won the race if she hadn't been shut off by Shelby Madison going around the stretch turn. Victor's Secret was subsequently moved up to second when Shelby Madison was disqualified. She tailed off badly in her next three starts with stakes horses, but closed out her year with wins in an optional sprint and an allowance race at 1 1/16 miles.

"She's just a filly that has improved with age," said Giesbrecht. "Her dam was the same way. I'm looking forward to seeing how much she'll improve as the year develops."

Maxwell jumps on slow pace

Last Saturday, both the Klondike Handicap and the John Longden were pretty much over after the first quarter-mile was completed. In the Klondike, Maxwell had a half-length lead in 22.91 seconds, and there was no way anyone was going to pass him after that slow of a fraction. He held a one-length lead after a 46.33-second half-mile, and although it appeared Lord Samarai might run by him at the top of the stretch, Maxwell had plenty left to repel the bid. He drew off to a two-length decision in 1:17.08 for the 6 1/2 furlongs.

"He's still green," said his trainer, Dino Condilenios. "To be honest, I really didn't want him on the lead, but when they go that slow you pretty much have to take it."

Frank Fuentes, who rode Maxwell, was aboard Lord Nelson for a six-furlong work Thursday morning in 1:12.80.

Condilenios was very pleased with the work.

"Frank said he was on cruise control most of the way," said Condilenios. "Really, he's never been better."

Lord Nelson is expected to make his next start in the $100,000 Lieutenant Governors' on July 1, and Maxwell is headed to the $75,000 Burnaby Breeders' Cup on the same day.

Roscoe Pito strong to the finish

Trainer John Snow was breathing a sigh of relief after Roscoe Pito led from start to finish in the John Longden. Roscoe Pito also had an easy time of it early, getting the first quarter-mile in 23.98 seconds. He came home quickly, though, with an excellent final time of 1:43.99 for the 1 1/16 miles. It was the first win of the season for Roscoe Pito, who was last year's horse of the year in British Columbia.

"That was more like it," said Snow. "I was really pleased with the way he came home, and he came out of it in great shape."

Snow said that Roscoe Pito will join Lord Nelson in the Lt. Governors'.