04/23/2003 11:00PM

Allowance dash a prep for Taiaslew


CALGARY, Alberta - Taiaslew, the unanimous choice as Alberta's champion 2-year-old colt of 2002, faces five rival 3-year-olds Saturday in a six-furlong sprint as he preps for the May 10 President's Stakes.

The $21,900 conditioned allowance shares top billing on the eight-race card with a $20,300 optional claimer for fillies and mares, headed by Northern Neechitoo.

Taiaslew, who captured his first four starts, all at Northlands Park, hasn't raced since finishing third in the Ascot Graduation at Hastings Park last October. He drew the rail in Saturday's fifth race with regular rider Real Simard up.

Trainer Greg Tracy, who is in his second full season on this circuit after previously campaigning in the midwestern U.S., has put a steady string of works into Taiaslew this spring.

Leading the opposition is the Bar None Ranches entry of Fuhr Ohre and Diablo Contento, both of whom were allowance winners last year but were unable to handle Taiaslew in stakes.

In the optional claimer, Northern Neechitoo makes her first start since running second in the Classic Distaff at Northlands last September. She made just three starts last year after an off-season injury, but has been among the top distaffers on this circuit the past three years and has 10 wins from 20 starts.

Northern Neechitoo drew post 4 and will be ridden by leading rider Dave Wilson.

Northern Neechitoo can expect an early challenge from Brighton Belle, who breaks from post 2 under Stephan Heiler.