08/26/2001 11:00PM

Northlands: Fancy As rallies to victory


EDMONTON, Alberta - Fancy As made a bold move in the lane to overtake Stage Classic and win the $150,000 Canadian Derby, making him undefeated in 11 starts in Alberta.

As expected, Harbour Ice and the favored Ontario import Stage Classic set the pace with Fancy As stalking through the first mile of the Grade 3, 1 3/8-mile race.

As the field approached the final turn, jockey Richard Hamel asked Fancy As to move, and the two favorites battled down the lane, much the same as in the Aug. 6 Manitoba Derby. But this time Fancy As was able to catch Stage Classic.

"The race went pretty much as expected," Hamel said. "He broke really sharp, and we found our spot through the first half before we started to make a move down the backside.

"We knew we couldn't let him (Stage Classic) get away and he ran up to him real nice. He's a real professional and he has a great mind for racing. He knew when it was time to go."

Stage Classic easily held sway for second, finishing 5 3/4 lengths ahead of third-place Thurston. Bubblegum Kid, Kid Copper, Harbour Ice, and Krakow completed the order of finish.

Fancy As, trained by R.K. Smith, has now won 11 of 13 career starts and $368,770.

Saturday's card also featured the return of Scotman in the $35,000 Westerner, but Alberta's reigning horse of the year ran third, beaten 11 lengths. The winner, at 19-1, was Rancour. Run Joey Run finished a distant second.

In the $50,000 Edmonton Distaff, 3-year-old Little Lolitta took on older rivals for the first time and was impressive in a runner-up finish, leading most of the way before giving way to Tecate, who won by a neck.