05/24/2001 11:00PM

Sickly foal now a strong horse

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Rosann Anderson has a lifetime win percentage that's close to 20 percent, and she has done it while training mostly claiming horses. Kat Dancer, who runs in the seventh race Sunday at Hastings Park, has the potential to be her first stakes winner, but Anderson isn't concerned with that, she's just happy to have him alive and well. "When he was born he was the most beautiful horse at the farm," said Anderson. "But soon after he became very sick and almost died. I owe a lot to farm foreman Clinton Gore, and yes, that's his real name. He would go out and lift him up to feed him and he would also periodically go out and turn him over so that he wouldn't get body-sore on one side."

Kat Dancer was born at veterinarian Bryan Anderson's (no relation) Wild Rose Farm in Langley, B.C. and he recalls just how sick Kat Dancer was. "I've never seen a horse who was that sick survive. He had enteritis, which is an intestinal infection, and it's not only amazing that he survived, but that he turned out to be such a good horse after going through all of that."

Although Bryan Anderson is listed as the breeder, Rosann Anderson actually owns Bee Bop Beluga, who is Kat Dancer's dam. "Bee Bop Beluga was never a sound horse but she had a big heart and tried hard every time she raced," she said. "I've never bred horses before but I thought she would make a good mare. Kat Dancer is her third foal and he's a full brother to Hoping for Fun, who has also been a pretty good horse for us."

Anderson hasn't trained any stakes horses herself, but she started out working for trainer Ed Ciminelli in 1979 and in his shed row were added money winners Summer Sauce and Mr. Docile. Anderson took out her trainer's license in 1981 and her first horse was Sarcee Brave.

"He'll always be my favorite," said Anderson. "I'll never forget how he won going 2 1/8 miles with six weeks off after just one 6 1/2-furlongs sprint. Not many horses can do that." Not many trainers either.

She's also very fond of Kat Dancer who has quite the personality. "He likes company. He bites, but he isn't mean. He just wants you to play with him."

Anderson has a pretty hectic schedule as she delivers mail fulltime for Canada Post. "I'm busy, but it's hard to turn down a steady paycheck and all of the benefits. I usually get the horses out first and then head off to the post office. After I'm done there I'll come back to check on the horses so that doesn't leave me much spare time."

Having a good 3-year-old like Kat Dancer usually has trainers thinking about derbies and other important races but Anderson isn't looking that far ahead. "I'm just hoping he'll run a good race Sunday and if he does, we'll look forward to his next start."

Drop in live handle offset

Hastings Park general manager Phil Heard reported that while the live handle is down close to 13 percent, the simulcasting numbers are positive and horsemen should take comfort that the purse pool is in good shape and purses will likely remain the same for the rest of the year.

"Actually our total handle for the year is about 2 percent better than last year," said Heard. "We've seen fuller fields recently and with the good weather I'm confident our live handle will improve."

One of the problems Hastings Park has been facing since the beginning of the live meet is a transit strike that looks like it will continue for some time.