10/01/2006 12:00AM

Shillelagh Slew takes Ontario Derby


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Shillelagh Slew stamped himself as the leader for honors as this year's Canadian champion 3-year-old with an overpowering performance in the $200,400 at Woodbine Sunday.

Shillelagh Slew won the nine-furlong event for 3-year-olds by seven and a quarter lengths over Royal Challenger, who finished a neck in front of Storm Caller. Ports N Porsches, Oh So Awesome and Stradivinsky completed the order of finish. Seaside Retreat was scratched.

Stradivinsky opened up a 10-length lead on the backstretch, setting fractions of :24.48 and :48.17 seconds before retreating on the far turn. Shillelagh Slew blew by him at the quarter pole after racing in second, and then drew off through the stretch to complete the distance in 1:51.65.

Shillelagh Slew's rider, Dino Luciani, said he wasn't overly concerned when Stradivinsky shook loose up front.

"I figured he might come back to me," Luciani said. "Every time we worked my horse with another horse, that's pretty much what we spot them, and we usually come running by them."

Trained by Mike DePaulo, Shillelagh Slew returned $6.40 as the favorite in the Grade 3 race. He earned $120,000 for owner David James.