10/18/2001 11:00PM

Leaving home for some California grass


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Since neither Hastings Park nor Emerald Downs have a turf course, many horses never get to run on grass and could be missing a chance to live up to their full potential.

Trainer Robbie Anderson thinks Grey Tobe Free, who pulled off a $41 shocker in the Grade 3 Ballerina Breeders' Cup on Oct. 8, will improve on turf. Anderson is taking her along with "four or five" other horses to northern California after the Hastings Park meet closes Nov. 4. His original plan was to run Grey Tobe Free in either an optional race or some kind of conditional allowance race but her value increased significantly with her win in the Ballerina, and it will be hard to find a conditional race for a horse that just earned $81,634.

"It kind of ruined our plans but we're not going to complain too much," said Anderson. "I'm not sure where I'll run her but hopefully she can run in an overnight handicap before she has to hook stakes horses down there. Her daddy [I'm Free], liked the turf so I think she'll handle it just fine."

Anderson is also taking King Jeremy and he's planning to run him in the six-furlong Albany Handicap in early December. This will be Anderson's first trip to northern California in six years. His son, Robbie Jr., was the main reason he stayed home. "We didn't want to take him down there because he was just starting school. He's in the sixth grade now and he there's a school right across the street from where we're staying down there so it should work out."

Anderson's sister Barbara Heads is also taking a string of horses to northern California but she will run in different spots than her brother. "I like taking maidens and horses with conditions," she said. "If you can win a $25,000 or $32,000 maiden race you're eligible to run in those starter races that offer a very good purse and they usually aren't too tough."

Another trainer looking south is David Forster. It wouldn't be surprising to see a couple of his fillies hook up with Grey Tobe Free. He would also like to try Make Contact and Castle Mountain on the turf.

Where was the Kid?

Kid Katabatic missed the Premier's, mostly because of the weather. "I wasn't sure what the track would be like so I just backed up on him," said his trainer and part owner, Shauna Ferguson. Kid Katabatic started only three times this year and his best finish was a third in the Independence Day at Emerald.

Ferguson said she was considering retiring him. "I'm not sure what to do with him," she said. "I was thinking of running him in a $50,000 optional race here but it's hard to train him with all of the rain. At least in Phoenix you're guaranteed good weather, so I might take him there or maybe just retire him."