07/17/2003 12:00AM

'Vixen' scares away all but four

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - It's easy to see why only four horses will go up against 123-pound highweight Dancewithavixen in Saturday's $40,000 Nanaimo Stakes at Hastings. She has dominated the local 3-year-old filly contingent, and in her two starts at the 1 1/16-mile distance of the Nanaimo, she won by almost five lengths each time.

It also comes as no surprise that with only four betting interests, there will be no place and show wagering on the race.

Dancewithavixen, who will be ridden by Felipe Valdez, started off her 3-year-old season with a rough trip in the U.S. Banks Stakes at Emerald, where she finished a non-threatening fourth. Since then she has won 4 of her 5 starts at Hastings, and has banked $108,660 this year. In her latest start, the $44,000 Liberation Stakes June 28, she forced a decent pace, and when Chorus Dancer made what appeared to a winning move, Dancewithavixen shifted into another gear and drew off to score by 4 1/2 lengths.

Although Dancewithavixen is making her seventh start since mid-April, she seems as fresh as ever and worked a brilliant five furlongs in 59 seconds July 12.

"What can I say about her?" said her owner-trainer, Tom Longstaff. "She's pretty special. She had a bow in her neck when she worked the other day and hopefully the weight won't get her beat."

Dancewithavixen will be coupled with Rainbows Forever, who will be stretching out beyond a sprint distance for the first time.

Trainer Harold Barroby has entered both Class Choice, second to Dancewithavixen in an allowance race June 14, and Payton's Pride, who brings a three-race win streak into the Nanaimo.