11/27/2007 12:00AM

Juveniles give DePaulo hope

EmailETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Mike DePaulo entered the current season with high hopes for Shillelagh Slew and Easterman.

Shillelagh Slew appeared to be destined for more good things following his championship 3-year-old campaign. Easterman seemed a legitimate Queen's Plate prospect off an impressive debut here last fall.

Neither had the year DePaulo anticipated.

Shillelagh Slew struggled and was sent to the sidelines in July for season-ending ankle and throat surgeries. Easterman was injured at Gulfstream Park in February and aggravated the problem when returned to training here late this summer.

But the DePaulo stable, after a slow start, has rallied impressively and has some solid prospects for the 3-year-old stakes here next year in Deputiformer, Sun Hawk, and Don's Folly.

Deputiformer won his maiden in the $250,000 Cup and Saucer over 1o1/16 miles on turf and then finished a close third in the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity before being put away for the season.

"I was squeezing him a little in between races," DePaulo said. "I ran him five times and thought that was plenty.

"I'm pretty excited about him."

Sun Hawk ended seventh in his debut at six furlongs but then left Deputiformer a neck back in second when winning his maiden at the same distance here Sept. 2.

"He had a little injury, and I stopped on him," DePaulo said. "He's a nice kind of horse."

Don's Folly won his maiden at five furlongs, finished second in the six-furlong Vandal, and captured the seven-furlong Simcoe in what turned out to be his final start of the season.

"He fractured a leg and needed three or four months," DePaulo said. "He should be fine. I'll probably go the Ontario-sired route with him next year."

Don's Folly is at nearby Woodlands Farm and will winter there. Deputiformer and Sun Hawk will be heading to Palm Meadows in Florida, where DePaulo has eight stalls.

Shillelagh Slew returned to Woodbine on Tuesday and will be heading to Palm Meadows with DePaulo after the meeting ends on Dec. 9.

Krz Exec seeks second stakes

In the meantime, DePaulo will be looking for some traveling money when he sends out Krz Exec in the $150,000 Ontario Lassie here Sunday.

Krz Exec became a stakes winner here Nov. 7 in the South Ocean, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies.

"I was really surprised she won that stakes," DePaulo said. "She'd broke her maiden going two turns, but it was a slow pace."

The South Ocean pace turned out to be no quicker, and Krz Exec emerged with the victory after being prominent throughout under new rider Jerry Baird.

Last Sunday, Krz Exec worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 with Baird in the saddle.

The Ontario Lassie, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-foaled 2-year-old fillies, will be Krz Exec's first start outside the Ontario-sired ranks.

"She's going to have to improve to run with these, but she's doing real well," DePaulo said. "She hasn't gone backwards at all."

Claims paying off for DePaulo

Several horses who were claimed by DePaulo in recent months also have helped to boost the barn's production.

Girl Tak, haltered for $25,000 on Aug. 16, won her maiden for $16,000 in early October and has run her streak to three with victories for $15,000 and $25,000 for owners Frank and Clara Russo.

Five and Off, claimed for $50,000 on Sept. 28, won a first-level allowance and then finished second for $62,500 for owner Frank Romano.

Miss Yankee, taken for $40,000 on Oct. 6, was unplaced in a maiden race and then graduated for $40,000 for California Stable.

"I like buying yearlings, but you need claimers," DePaulo said. "When something happens to a baby, you need to fill the stall."

Quiet end to meet for Frostad

The Woodbine meeting is winding down rather quietly for trainer Mark Frostad and Sam-Son Farm.

Frostad already has 10 horses at Fair Grounds, where he has 15 stalls, and many others have been sent to the Sam-Son spread in Florida.

"We've just got a few left to run here, bits and pieces," Frostad said.

One of Frostad's prospective starters here is Written in Stone, a 3-year-old gelding who won his maiden in impressive fashion in his second lifetime start on Nov. 10. Written in Stone scored in his Polytrack debut at seven furlongs after finishing off the board over the same distance on the turf here Sept. 15.

Last Sunday, Written in Stone breezed five furlongs in 59 seconds.

Written in Stone is a full brother to Strike Softly, a 4-year-old filly who began her campaign with back-to-back victories here in the Grade 3 Hendrie at 6 1/2 furlongs on May 13 and the Grade 2 Nassau over 1 1/16 miles of turf on June 2. Shortly thereafter, Strike Softly was sidelined by a suspensory problem.

"She's back in training in Florida," Frostad said.

Windward Islands, Speak Wisely, and Sail From Seattle, all of whom won stakes here this year for Frostad and Sam-Son, are getting some time off at Sam-Son's Florida base.

One Sam-Son stakes winner who will not be back next year is Count to Three, who was retired as scheduled after finishing fifth in the seven-furlong Bessarabian here last Sunday and will be bred to Smart Strike.

Count to Three, a 5-year-old daughter of Red Ransom, won 5 of 22 starts while finishing second 6 times and third 4 times. She had career earnings of $437,847.

"She'll make a nice broodmare," said Frostad.