08/20/2001 12:00AM

In terms of Senate Appointees, think Grooms Derby


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Grooms Derby looks like the one to beat this Saturday in the $35,000 Senate Appointee. Her trainer, Mike Turner, reports that Grooms Derby is training better than ever and with Make Contact not likely to run after her second-place finish to Fleet Pacific in the $100,000 Emerald Distaff Sunday, she looks pretty tough. Grooms Derby finished up the track in her last start, the Boeing Handicap at Emerald July 15, but has an excuse. She broke slowly than rushed up to engage Fleet Pacific through extremely fast fractions that cost both fillies. Turner hopes that, like Fleet Pacific, Grooms Derby will rebound this weekend. "We'll keep her here for the rest of the year," said Turner. "I don't know what it is but she never breaks very well at Emerald and it won't hurt to avoid Fleet Pacific, who has the same front-running style."

Name for Norm coming back

Turner also reported that multiple stakes winner Name for Norm is one work away from starting and should turn up in the entries soon. "We'll give him a good five-furlong work Tuesday and then start looking for a spot. I'm really looking forward to running him." Name for Norm hasn't started since finishing second in an allowance race at Emerald in 1998. An earner of $254,945, his last stakes win came in the 1997 Seattle Slew Handicap, also at Emerald. "He's a bowed horse but you can hardly even tell that it's there and he's training up a storm. He's a really nice horse." said Turner.

B.C. Oaks shaping up

Turner is also looking for a spot to run Florida bred 3-year-old filly Star of Dawn. "We just want to find out if she can go a distance before the B.C. Oaks," on Sept. 8, he said. "We'll run her anywhere from $25,000 to allowance. We would have run her in a stakes but she's not a Canadian-bred so she wasn't eligible for the B.C. Cup Stallion Stakes or this weekends Free Vacation, which is restricted to Canadian-breds."

Trainer Kathy Bremner was also looking forward to the B.C. Oaks after her Inish Glora finished a very good second in the $100,000 Washington Breeders' Cup Oaks at Emerald on Saturday. "I'm just going down to pick her up," said Bremner on Monday morning. "She ran a big race and she seems to have come out of it fine."

I'm Free again

Short or long, wet or fast, it doesn't matter, the local 3-year-olds can't beat I'm Free ($4.20). In what his trainer, Henry Miller Jr., billed as a prep race for the Emerald Downs Breeders' Cup Derby, I'm Free once again toyed with his opposition, he cruising to a 2 3/4-length win under 123 pounds in Sunday's Mr. Prime Minister Stakes.

"I was a little concerned when I saw the fractions," - 21.78 and 44.63 seconds- said Miller, "but what can I say, he's scary. Mark [Patzer] told me that he had a ton of horse down the lane and if he had to, he could have gone a lot faster." That's pretty impressive considering the final time for the 6 1/2 furlongs was 1:16.47. Miller reported that I'm Free will be sent home for five days and then will resume training for his two final starts this year, the Emerald and B.C. Derbies. "We'll give him a rest after that," said Miller.

* Another smart winner over the weekend was the 2-year-old filly Lasting Code, who won the 6 1/2-furlong Lassie Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths over Lady Vye in a very good 1:17.47. Lasting Code is now undefeated in two starts, both stakes. Her trainer Steve Henson said she'll make her next start in the one-mile Barbara Shinpoch Stakes at Emerald Sept. 2.