10/30/2003 12:00AM

Future looking bright for Taylor with record-setting Flying Memo

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - With a win percentage of more than 20, trainer Troy Taylor has had, for him, a typical year. But he has had a disappointing Hastings meet, with only 3 wins from 27 starters.

Taylor, who is planning on heading to Portland Meadows in the next couple of weeks, has good reason to look forward to next year. Flying Memo, a 2-year-old California-bred filly trained by Taylor, set the track record of 39.40 seconds for the 3 1/2-furlong Nursery Course last Sunday.

"She's pretty fast, and I think she'll be able to carry her speed," Taylor said, noting that a sister of Flying Memo, Go Girl Go, "won a couple of route races in California, and she's a pretty sensible filly."

Taylor, who turned 72 in September, is originally from Idaho and first showed up in the Pacific Northwest in 1958 at Portland Meadows. He was the leading trainer at Hastings in 1963.

"That was a pretty good year," he recalled. "I not only won the trainers race here but also at Spokane and at Portland. Things have changed a bit though. At Portland back then, they gave the top three trainers a new car. I got an Austin-Healey that year."

Taylor was also successful racing in northern California, but for the past 10 or years or so he has mostly raced at Portland and Hastings.

"I like staying closer to home now," he said. "Plus, there's a lot of good golf courses up here and I have a lot of good friends up here."

Taylor has another fast 2-year-old filly in his barn, Savannah Blue Jeans, and he finds it hard to separate her from Flying Memo.

"She's every bit as fast," he said. "Flying Memo caught a pretty fast track last Sunday, so I'm not that surprised that she broke the record. I'm turning both of them out. Flying Memo bucked her shins in her race, and Savannah Blue Jeans is recovering from a throat operation. They probably won't run at Portland, but hopefully they'll be ready to go when we return to Hastings next year. I think they'll both turn into pretty decent 3-year-olds."

Changing of guard

While some trainers are shipping out a few weeks before the meet ends, others from Alberta and Winnipeg are taking their place, and if Saturday's card is any indication, full fields will likely be the norm until the meet closes Nov. 30.

"It looks pretty good," said Willie Ritson-Bennett, the track's stall superintendent. "June Brown, Caesar de Marni, Roberto Diodor, and a few others have shipped in from the prairies. Plus Frank Lucarelli brought in 20 horses from Washington, and these guys are keen and ready to run."

A couple of riders will also help close out the meet. David Wilson and Richard Hamel have shipped their tack from Alberta. Wilson's agent is Leilani VanOverschot and Hamel's is Drew Forster.

Fans see what stewards can't

When the stewards canceled the races because of heavy fog last weekend, there were a few fans confused by the decision. After all, on the ground the visibility was fairly clear. You could see the starting gate from the paddock, and that's about the length of the stretch. But from the stewards' view on top of the grandstand, it was pretty tough to see through the fog.

The British Columbia Rules of Thoroughbred and Standardbred Racing stipulate that, "No race shall be run, if the horses cannot be seen plainly by the Stewards/Judges from the Stewards/Judges stand."

"We really had no choice," said Keith Smith, senior steward. "We couldn't see the horses from where we were sitting, and they weren't visible on some of the video monitors."