05/20/2002 12:00AM

No stopping him: Kid Katabatic wins again


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Not many horses are still racing at 9, and it's very rare to see a 9-year-old running in a stakes race, let alone winning one. So it wasn't that surprising that Kid Katabatic paid a mere $10.50 when he won the Spring Sprint Handicap at Hastings Park on Saturday.

The Kid, however, has been training like a 5-year-old this spring and his trainer and part-owner Shauna Ferguson had a lot of confidence that he would run well.

Noting that Kid Katabatic has raced just 34 times in his career, Ferguson said, "He might be 9, but he hasn't raced that many times, and he looks terrific," she said. "He's also a much different horse now than when he was younger. Before he had to be in front, and he was usually fast enough to get there anyway. Now he's happy to sit behind horses and will take a run at them when the rider asks him to."

That's pretty much the way the race unfolded Saturday as 4-5 favorite King Jeremy and I'm Free hooked up early. Meanwhile, Chris Loseth had Kid Katabatic under a tight hold sitting a couple of lengths behind. When he turned the Kid loose approaching the quarter pole, there wasn't much doubt about the outcome, as he immediately responded and swept by the two front-runners on his way to a one-length victory over Diglett, who made a late move to finish second. "He felt pretty comfortable the whole way," said Loseth. "It brought back some fond memories." Loseth has been aboard for many of the Kid's 15 wins, including his most notable one, the 1997 Longacres Mile. Kid Katabatic has been racing mostly at Emerald the past few years, however, and Gary Baze took over as his regular rider.

Kid Katabatic will now be pointed to the $75,000 Lieutenant Governors' Stakes July 1. "I think I can train him to go a mile and an eighth off of just one race," said Ferguson. "I should know the horse, and he makes it pretty easy, as he loves to train."

The final time of 1:16.66 for the 6 1/2 furlongs was the fastest of the meet.

Ferguson's followers had a great day Saturday, as she also won with Kid Sister, who paid $54.90 for her win in a $15,000 claiming race. She is a half-sister to Kid Katabatic.

Another half-sister to Kid Katabatic made her debut on Sunday in a straight maiden race but the bubble burst when 3-year-old filly Reach for the Top finished last. "She's pretty green," said Ferguson. "She's a lot like Kid Sister, who forgot to make the turn in her first start."

Demonhasgone wins for globetrotter

The winner of that maiden race, Demonhasgone, scored a very impressive 6 3/4-length victory in an excellent 1:17.74 seconds for the 6 1/2 furlongs. Her trainer, Brian Giesbrecht, spent most of the last nine years in Asia before returning home to British Columbia.

"I went over to Macau to gallop horses for Stephen Shiu in 1991," said Giesbrecht. "After about eight months I moved on to Singapore, where I worked for Johnny Kok. He was the leading trainer over there for a couple of years."

Giesbrecht also spent time in Malaysia before returning to Macau and working as an assistant trainer. He wouldn't have minded staying in Macau, but he succumbed to pressure from his family to return home.

"I was pretty close to getting my trainer's license over there, and trainers get 10 percent of all the monies their horses earn. With a $35,000 bottom purse you can make a pretty good living. But it wasn't a great place for the kids, and they really wanted to come home, so we did.

"Demonhasgone surprised us a bit," said Giesbrecht. "We knew she could run, but we didn't think she had that much speed. We thought that she would be laying about fifth or sixth instead of sitting just off of the leader."

Demonhasgone is owned by Hughs Wong, who spent $20,000 for Demonhasgone in the 2000 B.C. Breeders' October sale. Wong is steadily building up what could be a strong stable around here. Originally from Hong Kong, Wong raced horses in Macau. While he hadn't met Giesbrecht over there, he knew of him.

"I met Brian at the Washington Sale a couple of years ago," he said. "I was looking for a young trainer for Vancouver. I have about 10 horses with him here and 15 2-year-olds at my farm. I'm looking forward to racing in B.C."