03/26/2002 1:00AM

Fancy As named best in province

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SEATTLE - Fancy As, the first horse in 14 years to win the British Columbia Derby and better his elders in the B.C. Premier's in the same season, was named the province's Horse of the Year for 2001 at the annual awards banquet in Vancouver last Saturday.

Fancy As, a gelding who was purchased for just $3,200 as a yearling in Manitoba, raced for trainer Red Smith and his wife, Linda. As a 3-year-old in 2001, Fancy As won eight of nine races and finished second once, earning $431,941. Including the three starts he has made at Santa Anita this year, his career record stands at 18-13-2-2, with earnings of $613,448.

Another 3-year-old, I'm Free, was named the outstanding B.C.-bred for 2001 after having won five stakes at Hastings Park and having finished second in both the B.C. Derby and the Emerald Downs Derby in Washington. He is owned by Beverly Green and Henry Miller Jr.

The two newest inductees into the British Columbia Thoroughbred Hall of Fame, trainers Cy Anderson and Harold Barroby, were also honored at the dinner.