08/07/2003 11:00PM

Roscoe Pito wins, trainer looking ahead


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Roscoe Pito displayed tremendous courage in winning the B.C. Cup Stallion Stakes at 1 1/16 miles Monday. He battled through quick fractions and then was game in holding off a determined Illusive Force. It wasn't the type of race that his trainer John Snow was looking for though.

Snow has his eyes on a bigger prize, the $250,000 B.C. Derby at 1 1/8 miles on Sept. 21, and he has been working on getting Roscoe Pito to relax.

"You can't take anything away from him," Snow said. "He was very gutsy, but when Five Point Star drove up inside of him going into the first turn, he just didn't settle the way I would like him to. Obviously I'm happy with the win, but I'm not really pleased with how he did it."

Snow said that if Roscoe Pito was training well he would likely run in the $125,000 Emerald Breeders' Cup Derby at 1 1/8 miles on Sept. 1. Otherwise, he'll start in the 1 1/16-mile Richmond Derby Trial at Hastings, also Sept. 1.

Illusive Force can use a few pounds

Trainer Robert VanOverschot was weighing his options with second-place finisher Illusive Force and also, Stratoplan, who will run in the Seattle Slew Breeders' Cup at Emerald on Sunday. Illusive Force is still recovering from his grueling trip to Woodbine.

"Illusive Force is still a hundred pounds underweight and we'll have to see if he puts some weight back on before deciding on where he'll go next," VanOverschot said. "He's eating up and if he continues to come back we could run him in the Canadian Derby in Edmonton, but it's just too soon to tell. If Stratoplan runs well Sunday I imagine he'll run back in the Emerald Derby."

Hard-luck Steady Smiler to stay here

Steady Smiler didn't have the best trips in the Stallion Stakes and if he could have shaken loose earlier, he probably would have won the race. Rob Maybin, owner-trainer, isn't planning on shipping him anywhere though.

"He's still eligible for a nonwinners-of-two and that's where I would like to run him," Maybin said. "I'm looking forward to his next few races though. He's had problems with one of his shins and I haven't really been able to train him the way I would like. But he came out of the Stallion Stakes better than ever and he'll be able to train a lot harder now."

Quick thinking keeps horses safe from fires

The fires that have been raging out of control in the interior of British Columbia have not only caused havoc with the people that live there, but because of the threat posed by the fires, horses have had to be moved to safety.

Tod Mountain Thoroughbreds, which is owned by Ron and Rae Fawcett, is one of the biggest breeding operations in the province, and they had to react quickly when their farm, which is just located just outside of Kamloops, was threatened.

"We had over a hundred horses on the farm and 30 of them had just moved in from other places because of the fires," said Ron Fawcett. "It took just over three hours to move all of them to the Kamloops stockyards.

"I'm not sure where all of the trailers came from or who the people were that pitched in to help. I think a call went into the Kamloops large animal veterinarian clinic and the people there put out the word. It's pretty amazing how quickly they organized the whole thing."

Fawcett said that the stockyards, which would normally be full, were empty because of the problems associated with Mad Cow Disease and that the horses were being well taken care of and were doing just fine. He's also kept his sense of humor through the ordeal and looked at the move to the stockyards in a positive light.

"With all of the handling the yearlings have had they should be a lot less skittish when they go to the sales," he said.

Fawcett is ready to go home though.

"I think our place will be okay," he added. "We don't have a lot of trees on the property and it's very green. We're about four or five kilometers from the fires and I don't think our place is really at risk. But, we can't go back until the authorities say we can."