08/21/2003 12:00AM

Hero's Pleasure, Taiaslew meet again

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EDMONTON, Alberta - Manitoba Derby champion Hero's Pleasure will seek another big payday in Canada when he heads a field of eight here in Saturday's 74th running of the $150,000 Canadian Derby at 1 3/8 miles.

Trainer Doug Oliver has vanned Hero's Pleasure here from Canterbury Park. Hero's Pleasure, who is owned by Jean Duke, will be accompanied by his regular rider, Scott Stevens, who was aboard when the colt won his maiden in March at Turf Paradise and was second in the Canterbury Derby in late June.

Taiaslew, who entered the stretch five lengths in front at Assiniboia Downs in the Manitoba Derby, was caught nearing the wire by Hero's Pleasure, who charged from eighth place. Taiaslew, who was undefeated in four races here last year, will make his first local start of the year in what has become a widely anticipated rematch.

Rather than conceding that the 1 1/8 miles was too far for Taiaslew, winner of the Alberta Derby, trainer Greg Tracy blamed the fast fractions of 22.80 seconds, 46.80, and 1:12.40 for Taiaslew's failure.

Nevertheless, Tracy has named Real Simard to ride Taiaslew again in the Canadian Derby.

The grueling distance won't be a problem for Beau Brass, who opened up in the stretch for a length victory here in the 1 5/16-mile Count Lathum on the same weekend as the Manitoba Derby.

Rindanica came into the Count Lathum off two stakes victories but had to settle for second, nosing out pacesetting Reb's Drummer, who is expected to run with Taiaslew on the front end Saturday.

Trainer Rod Haynes has chosen to run his filly Raylene in the derby rather than Saturday's supporting feature, the $75,000 Edmonton Distaff. Raylene is a proven distance runner and will carry 121 pounds under the scale-weight conditions of the race, while her male opponents pack 126 pounds.

Rickey Walcott has returned from Barbados just in time to take the mount on Raylene, whom he rode to Alberta divisional honors last year.

Raylene's chances are not diminished by her sex, judging from the success of fillies Native Brass (1999) and Lady Shari (2002) in this race.

The other Canadian Derby invader is Illusive Force, who returned to his Vancouver base following an unsuccessful stint on the Queen's Plate trail at Woodbine. In his last start, Illusive Force was second, beaten a neck, in the 1 1/16-mile B.C. Stallion at Hastings.

Completing the field is Beauzak, who is moving up from the claiming ranks after a victory here Aug. 1 for $20,000.