06/18/2003 12:00AM

3-year-old stars top draw at 68-day meet


EDMONTON, Alberta - The summer Thoroughbred meet opens on Friday, with an eight-race program which attracted 69 entrants.

The opening-day headliner, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for $22,000 claimers, features a rematch between Dublin's Woodwin and Timboruck, who finished one-two in a six-furlong race at the same level at Stampede Park last time out.

Dublin's Woodwin will break from post 1 in the field of six with Calgary's leading rider, Quincy Welch, in the irons. Dave Wilson, runner-up in the Stampede standings, will break Timboruck from post 2.

The 68-day meeting here will offer a record total of $7.8 million in purse money and the stable area is filling up fast, with the full complement of 1,200 horses expected to be reached soon.

A total of 34 stakes are scheduled at the meeting, which ends Oct. 13, and racing fans here will have the opportunity to watch two of the most dominant 3-year-olds in recent memory.

Without question, the top 3-year-old colt or gelding in the region is Taiaslew, who comes to Northlands undefeated on the year after easily winning last Saturday's $100,000 Alberta Derby at Stampede Park.

Taiaslew is the clear favorite to win the Grade 3, $150,000 Canadian Derby, the highlight of the meeting here Aug. 23. In the meantime, Taiaslew should see action here July 1 in the $40,000 Western Canada and again on July 18 in the $40,000 Ky Alta, the final prep leading to the Canadian Derby.

Raylene, who has been equally dominant in the 3-year-old filly division, comes to Edmonton off three stake wins in Calgary. She will make her first start here June 29 in the $40,000 Chariot Chaser.

Racing goes Wednesday and Friday evenings at 6 p.m. and Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays at 1 p.m.