08/23/2006 12:00AM

Patience with Raw Power now paying off

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - It certainly took a while, but Raw Power finally seems to be delivering on his early promise at age 6.

On Saturday, Raw Power will be looking to reach a new plateau when he seeks his first stakes victory in the Grade 2, $200,000 Play the King Handicap at Woodbine.

"Right from day one, I've always thought a lot of him," said Barbara Minshall, trainer and part-owner of Raw Power. "It's been a test of our patience to get over the things that were bothering him. But we waited it out, and he's really come to hand."

Raw Power, a homebred by Rahy out of the champion mare Bold Ruritana, won just two of his first 24 starts and paid the price early last summer.

Minshall's blacksmith, Chris Barton, recommended gelding Raw Power and Minshall agreed that there was nothing to lose.

Still, it took a couple more starts and a drop into the $40,000 claiming ranks for Raw Power to rediscover the winner's circle.

This year, however, has been a much different story.

"He trained really well all winter, and arrived here in good order," said Minshall. "Things have been going well with him; I'm really pleased with him."

The new and improved Raw Power made his first start of the season here June 11, rallying to win under second-level allowance terms over 1 1/16 miles of turf.

In his next outing Raw Power earned his first stakes-placing when second behind Millfleet in the Ontario Jockey Club, a seven-furlong turf race for Ontario foals.

But his last start was his best, as Raw Power came running late to take the Play the King prep, a 6 1/2-furlong turf allowance.

Raw Power, with regular rider Jim McAleney aboard, will face 10 rivals in the Play the King, including two shippers with prominent connections.

Becrux is based in California with trainer Neil Drysdale, while Vicarage is trained by Todd Pletcher in New York.

Saturday's card also features a pair of $75,000 overnight stakes.

The Belle Geste, a seven-furlong turf race for fillies and mares, attracted a field of seven while the Silver Deputy, a 7 1/2-furlong race for 2-year-olds, lured six entrants.

Shillelagh Slew hits the road

The DePaulo stable will have a busy day on Saturday, both at home and on the road.

Josie DePaulo, wife and assistant to trainer Mike DePaulo, will be holding down the fort here at Woodbine, where the barn's three entrants include Millfleet in the Play the King.

Mike DePaulo will be in Edmonton to saddle Shillelagh Slew in the Grade 3, $300,000 Canadian Derby, a 1 3/8-mile race which is the showpiece of the Northlands Park meeting.

Shillelagh Slew, who was declared the winner of Fort Erie's Prince of Wales after first-place finisher Malakoff was disqualified, will be facing a familiar foe in Edenwold, winner of the Queen's Plate.

Dino Luciani retains the mount on Shillelagh Slew while Emile Ramsammy returns aboard Edenwold.

Woodbine will offer simulcast wagering on the Canadian Derby, which is slated for 5:42 p.m. Eastern.

Archeress points for Eternal Search

DePaulo also plans to be represented in next Wednesday evening's $125,000 Eternal Search, with Archeress on target for the 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies.

Archeress, who will be trying two turns for the first time, breezed five furlongs in 1:03.40 here Wednesday under regular rider Slade Callaghan.

"Slade thinks she'll like the added distance," said DePaulo.

Archeress heads into the Eternal Search off a fifth-place finish in the Passing Mood, a seven-furlong turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies in which she ended 3 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

"She never got covered up, never got out, and she didn't get beat far," said DePaulo.

Plans indefinite for Arravale

Arravale checked back into Woodbine on Tuesday with a Grade 1 win on her r?sum? for owner Bob Costigan and trainer Mac Benson.

A Kentucky-bred 3-year-old filly, Arravale rallied to take last Sunday's Del Mar Oaks over 1 1/8 miles of turf under an excellent ride by Jose Valdivia.

"I couldn't have been more excited," said Benson, who did not make the trip to California but was represented by his assistant and partner, Barb Przedrzymirska.

Benson said he and Costigan had not yet discussed their next move with Arravale, who finished third in the Grade 1 American Oaks at Hollywood Park in her first trip west this summer.

"We'll let her get over this, and then sit down and map out where we're going," said Benson.

Local appearances by Pat Day

Pat Day, retired Hall of Fame jockey, will be here Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. and at the Greenwood teletheatre from 4 to 5 p.m. for autograph sessions.

Day, who is visiting as the guest of the Race Track Chaplaincy of Ontario, will be at Fort Erie for a similar session on Sunday.

Monday, Day will host the Chaplaincy Golf Tournament, auction and banquet at the nearby Royal Woodbine Golf Club. Those interested in participating can contact Chaplain Shawn Kennedy at (905) 713-4783.

Day's visit will conclude on Tuesday with a backstretch barbeque here.

* Glenn Sikura, president of the Ontario division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, will be a special guest on "Trading Desk," which will air on Report On Business Television (ROB TV) at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1. Sikura, owner of Hill 'N' Dale Farm in Ontario, will discuss investment strategies for Thoroughbred horse racing and breeding.

* The local CTHS will conduct its annual Canadian-bred yearling sales in the sales pavilion here Tuesday, Sept. 5, beginning at 3 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 9, at 2 p.m.