Trainer Craig Lewis Loves This Valentine

Even though Saturday's $100,000 Boo La Boo Stakes for 3-year-old California-bred fillies at six furlongs isn't what trainer Craig Lewis believes to be Valentine Dancer's best distance, he says timing and conditions make running her worthwhile.

"I actually think she might be better around two turns, because she broke her maiden very impressively at a mile," said Lewis. "But on the other hand, you've got to go where the races are and there's very little opportunity right now, so we'll run her in the Boo La Boo and hope she runs well.

Valentine Dancer has a 1-0-1 record from three starts, with earnings of $38,160 for owners Al and Saundra Kirkwood.

Lewis has thought highly of Valentine Dancer since she began training. The 3-year-old daughter of In Excess was third after leading to the stretch in her debut at five furlongs last June 26, then, after nearly seven months off, broke her maiden impressively at one mile, winning by three lengths at Santa Anita on Jan. 16.

The California-bred bay was sent back just nine days later, on Jan. 25, to finish sixth of 11, beaten by 12 lengths, in the Sunshine Millions Oaks at seven furlongs. Lewis said he had his doubts about running her back so quickly, and the result speaks for itself.

Denali Cat, who won last month's Miss California Stakes at Golden Gate Fields, and Humorous Lady, third in the Sunshine Millions Oaks on Jan. 25, could vie for favoritism in the Boo La Boo, which drew a field of 11. They are the co-highweights, each assigned 122 pounds.

$100,000 Boo La Boo, 3-year-old fillies, California bred, 6 furlongs
PP. Jockey, Wgt.
1. My Kai, Julie Krone, 117
2. Market Garden, Matt Garcia, 119
3. Denali Cat, Corey Nakatani, 122
4. Jaciro, Laffit Pincay Jr., 117
5. Stonecoldfox, Martin Pedroza, 117
6. Valentine Dancer, Kent Desormeaux, 117
7. Humorous Lady, Mike Smith, 122
8. Ela Ela, Tyler Baze, 117
9. Long Term Wish, Alex Solis, 119
10. Amber Hills, David Flores, 119
11. O Nectar, Pat Valenzuela, 115