09/03/2002 11:00PM

Juveniles roll 11's in stakes


EDMONTON, Alberta - The highlights of the long Labor Day weekend here at Northlands Park were two stakes races for 2-year-olds, and the results were hauntingly similar.

It started on Saturday in the $50,000 Bird of Pay Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. Raylene, a Kentucky-bred, was the prohibitive favorite after a spectacular performance in the Princess Margaret four weeks earlier, where she easily handled a strong field.

Raylene drew three-wide at the quarter pole, and at the top of the lane she was ahead by five lengths.

At that point, the only race left was for second and third, but Raylene ($2.60) continued to drive to win by 11 lengths. Dowhatuthinksright was a distant second, and Volunteer Annie was third.

On Monday, in the $50,000 Birdcatcher Stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings, it was time to shine for Taiaslew, the impressive Washington-bred colt who has dominated the class so far this year.

Like Raylene two days earlier, Taiaslew was the odds-on favorite, and the result was never in doubt

Getting a clean start, jockey Real Simard decided to take the colt to the front, and he looked comfortable through the first half-mile of the 6 1/2-furlong race.

As he hit the quarter pole, Simard urged Taiaslew on, and he exploded through the final turn to lead by more than seven lengths at the top of the lane. Taiaslew ($2.70) had stretched that margin to 11 1/2 lengths by the finish line.

Raylene and Taiaslew could go head to head in the $75,000 Canadian Juvenile here Oct. 14, although neither trainer has yet made a decision.

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