03/26/2003 12:00AM

'Vixen' targets Arkansas


NEW ORLEANS - Defrere's Vixen is a somewhat small, nondescript Colorado-bred colt, whose pedigree holds no intimations of greatness. But Defrere's Vixen is a useful horse, and after a five-furlong breeze here on Tuesday, he is on track to start next in the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn on April 12.

He was timed in 1:03 for his breeze, which trainer Steve Asmussen described as "strictly maintenance."

"We've done a lot with this horse," Asmussen said. "He doesn't need much right now."

Asmussen has trained Defrere's Vixen, by Defrere out of a Houston mare, throughout the colt's career, but Heiligbrodt Racing Stable bought him from owner Jack Oleson about a week before the Louisiana Derby. Defrere's Vixen finished an even fifth in that race after running third in the Risen Star Stakes and fourth in the Lecomte Stakes earlier this meet. Late last fall, he was beaten a nose by the talented Great Notion in a Churchill maiden race.

In all, Asmussen has seen enough to push on with Defrere's Vixen, though he hasn't yet suggested the colt is Kentucky Derby material.

"He's extremely durable, and I think he's doing excellent," Asmussen said. "The 3-year-olds right now seem a little spread out. We want to get this colt as big a check as we can."

Asmussen won the Arkansas Derby last year with Private Emblem, who worked a half-mile in 48.60 seconds here Wednesday. Private Emblem's first major goal of the season is the Texas Mile next month at Lone Star.

Easy does it with Candid Glen

Can you blame Candid Glen's connections for taking things slowly right now?

Candid Glen notched by far the most important victory of his career Sunday in the $650,000 Explosive Bid Handicap, also the biggest win of any of his connections - owner Glen Warren, trainer Andy Leggio, and jockey E.J. Perrodin. Wednesday, Leggio spoke only of giving Candid Glen a well-deserved break right now, not of any major goals in the coming weeks.

"He's had three hard races in the last 40 days," Leggio said. "We're going to sit back and relax right now."

Candid Glen, who paid $170.20 to win on Sunday, will remain in light training, with no specific race on his horizon.

"We'll see what's available for him in 45 to 50 days," said Leggio.

Leggio spends the summer at Lone Star, and said it was likely Candid Glen would make his next start there.

"If he was really feeling antsy and we couldn't hold him on the ground, we could send him someplace to run before then," Leggio said. "We'll let the horse tell us what to do."

* Trainer Ronny Werner shipped his 3-year-old stakes hopefuls Badge of Silver and Most Feared from Fair Grounds to Churchill Downs last weekend. Both colts could run in stakes races on April 12, Badge of Silver in the Blue Grass and Most Feared in the Arkansas Derby. Most Feared also could wait and start in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland a week later.

* The 3-year-old filly Allspice ran fifth in the Silverbulletday in February, but has been working well since. Wednesday, she breezed five furlongs in a sharp 59.40 seconds here. She could make her next start in a stakes race at Keeneland.