11/02/2001 12:00AM

Winners seem easy to pick for this year's B.C. Turf awards


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The annual B.C. Turf awards dinner isn't held until next spring, so for those who can't wait, here is a look at the horses who are likely to take home top prize in their divisions. In most cases there appears to be a clear winner.

No Time Flat should get the award for the top

2-year-old colt or gelding. Trained by Terry Marshall, the homebred gelding is the only horse who won more than one stakes and his win in the

1 1/16-mile Ascot Graduation Breeders' Cup more than made up for his dull showing in the Jack Diamond Futurity.

Like No Time Flat, Lasting Code was the only 2-year-old filly to win multiple stakes. Her trainer, Steve Henson, showed tremendous confidence in her by debuting her in the Timber Music Stakes where she beat favored Beautiful Stranger by 1 1/2 lengths. She followed that up with a win in the Lassie Stakes and closed out her season with a near-miss in the one-mile Emerald Breeders' Cup Distaff at Emerald Downs on Aug. 19.

I'm Free dominated the local 3-year-olds but he couldn't handle Fancy As in the B.C. Derby and will have to settle for second place. Fancy As underscored his win in the B.C. Derby with a victory over older horses in the Premier's and should be given strong consideration for the Sovereign Award as Canada's best 3-year-old. He beat Stage Classic in both the Canadian and B.C. derbies and Stage Classic went back to Woodbine and beat older horses in the $169,500 Sky Classic. Fancy As not only gets the nod as the top 3-year-old in B.C. but should also take home the Appleby Trophy for B.C.'s horse of the year. Fancy As is trained by Red Smith.

Collect Call ran only once at the meet but her two-length win over Inish Glora in the Grade 3 British Columbia Oaks gives her the title as the best 3-year-old filly. Trainer Christopher Paasch shipped Collect Call up from California with Grade 1 credentials and she showed her class by forcing a quick pace before drawing away from Inish Glora in the stretch. Honorable mention goes to Lady's Jewel who won three stakes at the meet but was no match for Collect Call in the Oaks.

Lord Nelson showed a lot of potential as a 3-year-old and lived up to it to become the best older horse in the province this year. He won three straight stakes in midsummer and placed in five others. His trainer, Dino Condilenios, deserves credit for bringing Lord Nelson along patiently and gets high marks for getting the speedy son of Maudlin to settle enough to give Fancy As a real battle in the 1 3/8 miles Premier's. Rampaging Alf is the only other horse that is in the running but he never made it back to the races after his hard-fought win over Lord Nelson in the Lieutenant Governor's on July 1.

Grey Tobe Free got off to a slow beginning but after her trainer, Robbie Anderson, made a slight adjustment in her equipment, she responded with two stakes wins at the end of the meet. Her decisive eight-length win in the Grade 3 Ballerina gives her the edge over Make Contact and Grooms Derby, who were the leaders heading into the Ballerina.

Last year's horse of the year in British Columbia, King Jeremy, has a big shot at sprinter of the year by virtue of his wins in the Victoria Day and PNE Speed. I'm Free also deserves consideration but he never faced older horses and that should give the edge to King Jeremy.

Highlight of the year was watching Fancy As make his tremendous move in the stretch to beat a very tough I'm Free in the B.C. Derby.