07/29/2004 11:00PM

Canmor crew has live one for Cup Day


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - L. T. McCarthy has gotten off to a great start as a licensed trainer. The first horse she saddled, Notis Otis, won his debut and then came back to win the Ladnesian Stakes. McCarthy came back to reality when she sent out heavily favored Delta Monarch for her debut last Sunday and, in McCarthy's words, "he ran like a green baby," finishing sixth.

Notis Otis figures to be one of the favorites in the British Columbia Cup Nursery on B.C. Cup Day, Monday.

McCarthy, who goes by the name Tracy, has actually been training horses for a few years, but just recently took out her license. She has been part of the team that is Canmor Farms. Most of the horses run under trainer Steve Henson, but included in all of the decision-making regarding the horses are McCarthy's husband, jockey Chris Loseth, Henson, and Ole Neilsen, who owns Canmor Farms.

"We're a true team," she said. "All four of us vote on everything, and we come to a consensus about what we're doing and where we're going. Sometimes we're four idiots, and sometimes we do great things."

According to McCarthy, all four pull the duties of hotwalker, groom, trainer, and assistant trainer, and the only distinction between them is that Loseth is the jockey. But he is starting to wind down his riding career, and it will not be long before he will likely take out a trainer's license.

"Chris wants to train horses when he retires, so I imagine I'll go back to being an assistant trainer," McCarthy said. "He's still got a few good years left, though." Loseth is the all-time leading rider at Hastings and is in fifth place in the meet standings.

With the slot machines having been approved for Hastings, McCarthy is looking forward to a bright future. Canmor Farms has been very successful buying and selling horses, not only here but also south of the border. With the additional purse revenue from slots, the partners are planning to be more focused on the local racing and breeding scene.

"We're planning to be active in the B.C. sales," she said. "We stand some nice stallions, so we're going to try and promote our own breeding."

One of the stallions standing at Canmor is Stephanotis, who earned $843,295 in his racing career. His first crop turned 3 this year, and he is the sire of Notis Otis.

"It looks like Stephanotis is going to be a good sire," said McCarthy. "He was a real racehorse and throws a nice horse that have good bone, mind and body."

Henson trained the dam of Notis Otis, Sky Borne. She won more than $180,000, and her victories included the B.C. Cup Distaff.

Henson was also in the winner's circle to greet Notis Otis when he won the Ladnesian.

"He's like my own son," he said. "I trained his mom, and I've never been involved with a horse that had more heart than she did. She was my favorite horse of all time. It was very special to see him win."

Henson is happy to share the spotlight with McCarthy.

"Next to my wife, Tracy is my best friend," he said. "We fight. We do everything like a married couple, except she goes home with Chris and I go home to my wife."

Whatever the future holds for the Canmor team, Henson will always be thankful to Canmor Farms owner Neilson and McCarthy for giving him an opportunity eight years ago, when he was a recovering drug addict.

A first: Two open races

Ten races were carded for B.C. Cup Day on Monday. In the first nine renewals of the B.C. Cup, all of the races were restricted to B.C.-breds. This year there are two that are open to all comers, and the first race, appropriately named the Outsider, drew a tough field of allowance horses that includes the lone 3-year-old, Tobe Suave.

According to his trainer, Steve Bryant, Tobe Suave is using the race as a prep for the 1 3/8-mile $250,000 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park on Aug. 28. Tobe Suave finished third as the favorite in the Jim Coleman Province on July 18.

"It seemed like a long time between races, especially going into one that's a mile and three-eighths, so this should help set him up," said Bryant.