05/20/2004 11:00PM

'Vixen' has toughest task yet


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Dancewithavixen, trained and owned by Tom Longstaff, completely dominated the 3-year-old filly stakes division at Hastings in 2003. She also won the first two added-money events for older fillies and mares this year and has to be considered as one of the best females ever to have run in British Columbia.

Is she good enough to beat the three-time older colts and geldings champ, Lord Nelson, and the 2003 local horse of the year, Roscoe Pito, at 6 1/2 furlongs? We'll find out when she squares off against a full and competitive field in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sprint on Sunday.

She just might be good enough. Dancewithavixen is dropping seven pounds, to 117, off her game win in the Sun Handicap May 1, where she earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 88. Lord Nelson, who posted a Beyer Figure of 94 when he won the George Royal stakes May 2, will carry 123 pounds and could have a hard time securing a good position going into the first turn from his outside post.

"I'm not happy to be here," said Longstaff, "but she needs a place to run before she stretches out."

Commodore Craig looks like the one to beat. He finished a neck behind Lord Nelson in the George Royal, and he should get a perfect stalking trip behind the speedy Celt, who is making his first start since last October.

Roscoe Pito was sensational last year with wins in the Emerald and British Columbia Derbies but finished a fifth in the George Royal. He had an excellent five-furlong work in 59.60 seconds May 16 and appears ready for a strong effort.