09/17/2003 11:00PM

'Vixen' vs. Raylene in Oaks


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Dancewithavixen shoots for her sixth straight win in the $150,000 British Columbia Breeders' Cup Oaks at Hastings on Saturday. Dancewithavixen will face her sternest test yet in the 1 1/8-mile Oaks, for 3-year-old fillies. Also in the field are Canadian Derby winner Raylene and Brave Miss, who is coming off a third-place finish in the Washington Breeders' Cup Oaks Aug. 23.

While Raylene comes into the Oaks with impeccable credentials, Tom Longstaff, who is the owner and trainer of Dancewithavixen, is pretty confident about the chances of his filly.

"She just keeps getting better and better," he said. "Raylene is obviously a very nice filly, and if this race were in Alberta, she would probably have the advantage. But it's nice to meet her on our home turf, and the way my filly is coming up to the race it will take a pretty special filly to beat her."

Besides the home-field advantage, Dancewithavixen should also have a tactical advantage. She has more early speed than Raylene and should get first crack at Pretty Meadow, who figures to be in front early but isn't likely to carry her speed the whole nine furlongs.

Dancewithavixen, to be ridden by Felipe Valdez, should also appreciate carrying scale weight of 121 pounds, five less than she carried in the Free Vacation Stakes, which she won by 7 3/4 lengths Sept. 1.

Raylene has a record that's just as impressive as Dancewithavixen's. This year she's won five of seven starts - all stakes - and she beat Taiaslew in the Canadian Derby at Northlands Park Aug. 23.