08/25/2003 12:00AM

Filly wins Canadian Derby


EDMONTON, Alberta - For the second year in a row the Canadian Derby, Alberta's richest race, has been won by a filly. Last year Lady Shari won it. On Saturday at Northlands Park, Raylene ran down 2-1 favorite Taiaslew in the stretch to win it by a length.

Four fillies have now won the Canadian Derby. The first was Chariot Chaser in 1965. It took 34 years for another filly to win: Native Brass, who did it in 1999.

Little was said about Raylene after she had lost two of her three starts leading up to the Canadian Derby. While the Kentucky-bred Raylene was still considered to be one of the best 3-year-olds in the province, many questioned whether she could compete at the grueling 1 3/8-mile distance. As it turns out, she answered her detractors in fine style.

"I never lost faith in her ability, and today she showed she's one of the best 3-year-olds to ever race in this province," said trainer Rod Haynes.

Jockey Rickey Walcott had Raylene well placed through the first 1 1/4 miles before making his move at the top of the lane. Facing a five-length deficit, Raylene gained on Taiaslew with every stride and was up in time.

"I rode Raylene last year and I'm very thankful the owners and trainers gave me back the ride," said Walcott. "She's a great filly and I knew she would get the job done."

The $94,500 Raylene earned pushed her career winnings to over $320,000. She paid $12.70 to win and was timed in 2:21.60.

She will now be pointed to the $150,000 British Columbia Breeder's Cup Oaks at Hastings Park on Sept. 20.