08/29/2003 11:00PM

'Vixen' in prep race for Oaks


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The final preps for both the Grade 2, $250,000 British Columbia Derby and the Grade 3, $150,000 British Columbia Breeders' Cup Oaks highlight Monday's card at Hastings.

Dancewithavixen will be a heavy favorite to win her fifth race in a row in the $50,000 Free Vacation Stakes, the Oaks prep, and Steady Smiler may be favored in the $40,000 Richmond Derby Trial. Both races are at 1 1/16 miles.

Only five horses will line up against the sensational Dancewithavixen, who is owned and trained by Tom Longstaff. A daughter of Vying Victor, Dancewithavixen has won five of the six stake races offered in the 3-year-old filly division at Hastings this year, and because of her enviable record, she'll have to carry 126 pounds in the Free Vacation. As usual, Felipe Valdez will ride.

The Richmond Derby Trial figures to be a more competitive affair and drew 10 horses. Steady Smiler, who is owned and trained by Rob Maybin, has been holding his own with the leaders of the 3-year-old division at Hastings and was very sharp in a one-length win over Johnny Ola in a $50,000 optional sprint Aug. 17. Valdez rides.

Trainer Rick Kamps is hoping that a good performance in the Richmond Derby Trial by Bold Texas will earn him a berth in the B.C. Derby. Bold Texas has won 3 of his 5 starts this year but has never gone a middle distance.

"His gallop boy and rider [Nicola Wright] keep telling me to stretch him out," said Kamps. "So the time has come. He's pretty relaxed out there so I think he'll handle the distance."