08/03/2006 11:00PM

'Shillelagh' has tools to do it

Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Shillelagh Slew gets in some training Friday on the Woodbine turf in preparation for the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Shillelagh Slew, fresh off a victory by disqualification in the Prince of Wales Stakes, seems made to order for the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes at Woodbine Sunday.

A field of 11 Canadian-bred 3-year-olds was drawn for the 1 1/2-mile turf marathon, which is one of two stakes on the 11-race card, along with the $125,000 Shepperton.

won his season opener impressively, in a seven-furlong allowance, but then missed his final prep for the Queen's Plate after contracting a virus. He wound up a respectable fifth in the 1 1/4-mile Plate, a race he probably needed.

Shillelagh Slew came wide from a stalking position in the 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales at Fort Erie, finishing second to a closing Malakoff. Malakoff lugged in through the final furlong, though, and was disqualified and placed fifth for interference, a decision that is under appeal.

Neither Malakoff nor Queen's Plate winner Edenwold will compete in the Breeders'.

Shillelagh Slew faded badly after tracking the leaders the last time he tried the grass, in the Oct. 16 Cup and Saucer Stakes. Trainer Mike DePaulo said Shillelagh Slew displaced his palate in the race.

"He had throat surgery over the winter," said DePaulo. "We changed some equipment, put a figure-eight bridle on him. It didn't seem to bother him after that. He had an entrapped epiglottis before the Queen's Plate, but that didn't affect him in the Cup and Saucer. We got that straightened out, and everything has been fine since."

According to DePaulo, Shillelagh Slew, sired by Chief Seattle, a son of Seattle Slew, had all the tools to handle an extended distance on grass.

"He's a big, leggy kind of horse," DePaulo explained. "The Seattle Slew line seems to like the grass, and he's out of a Theatrical mare. He rates nicely, and a pony was needed to pull him up in the Wales."

is one of two Sam-Son Farm runners in the lineup, along with the maiden Looktotherainbow. Both are trained by Mark Frostad.

French Beret ran third in his season opener at Keeneland, but could manage only fourth as the favorite here in a May 27 allowance. He fared much better in the June 25 Charlie Barley Stakes, finishing second to Seaside Retreat, and then won the Toronto Cup Stakes convincingly.

"He definitely needed his race at Keeneland, and ran exceptionally well, considering the amount of conditioning he had," Frostad said of French Beret. "He bounced a little in his next start, and then ran well in the Charlie Barley, and was even better in the Toronto Cup."

Looktotherainbow finished fourth in both of his outings, including in the nine-furlong Toronto Cup.

"We weren't able to get any starts on the turf here for him," Frostad said. "We decided to run him in that stakes, because we already had an entry in the maiden turf race that day. We wanted to get a race into him, and he ran pretty well. He wants to go farther - he's a distance horse."

Trainer Catherine Day Phillips, who has won the last two runnings of the Breeders', is going for the three-peat with upstart Uncle Max. Supplemented to the race for $15,000, Uncle Max was a fast-closing second against older rivals in a recent grass allowance.

The late-running , fourth in the Plate and sixth in the Wales, will be making his first turf start.

"He handled the grass very good when he worked on it," trainer Steve Attard said. "I don't think the distance will be a problem at all. He's bred to go that far."

, who finished fourth in the Wales, is also making his turf debut. By Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold, Royal Challenger is out of a mare who won stakes on both surfaces.

Pyramid Park, the 2005 Cup and Saucer winner, finished fourth behind Uncle Max going a mile in a July 21 allowance.

The field

Breeders' Stakes
Purse: $500,000; 1 1/2 miles, turf

1Shillelagh SlewD. Luciani3-1
2Bravest ApprovalD. Clark15-1
3Skipped BailR. Landry15-1
4Uncle MaxJ. Jones12-1
5Royal ChallengerP. Husbands9-2
6Pyramid ParkS. Callaghan10-1
7LooktotherainbowC. Fraser15-1
8Young DomR. Dos Ramos30-1
9Ascot BillJ. Stein10-1
10KisserooJ. McAleney20-1
11French BeretT. Kabel5-2

* Track odds
* All starters carry 126 pounds; Blinkers on: Skipped Bail
* Television: The Score, 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Eastern