09/21/2002 11:00PM

Cruising Kat upsets B.C. Derby

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Cruising Kat pulled off a shocking upset in the $222,386 Grade 2 British Columbia Derby at Hastings Park Saturday afternoon. Sent off at over 40-1, Cruising Kat came from well back to score a three-quarter length victory over another longshot, 57-1 Blowin In The Wind. Cruising Kat paid $82.80 for the win and helped key a $9,994.10 Superfecta that required only the first three horses.

Cruising Kat was considered one of the best 3-year-olds on the grounds in the spring, and his owners, trainer Daryl Snow and Jayson Spevakow turned down a $100,000 offer right after Cruising Kat won an allowance race in Golden Gate last winter.

"It was a dark cloud hanging over our head all summer," said Snow. "Just about everything that could go wrong with him did but this more than makes up for all of the frustration." Cruising Kat came into the Derby off of two straight wins, a $50,000 optional event and a $35,000 claiming race.

Cruising Kat was ridden by apprentice Nicola Wright who became the first female rider to win the Derby. "I still can't believe it," said Wright. "He saved ground the whole way and when I had a chance to move him to the outside to make his move, he just took off. I worked him in California last winter and knew he had a lot of potential. I guess he lived up to it today."

Tails Of The Crypt was sent off as the 7-5 favorite but never got into the race and finished a well-beaten sixth. "He didn't have any excuse," said his jockey Jake Barton. "He just never fired at all."

Second choice Salt Grinder set quick fractions of 22.58, 45.93 and 1:10.57 before tiring to finish seventh. Final time for the mile and an eighth was 1:50.49. Cruising Kat banked $133,432 for the win.