10/14/2005 12:00AM

Sovereign could be on the line

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The $250,000 Cup and Saucer is one of Woodbine's richest 2-year-old stakes, and it could help determine the Sovereign Award winner for champion of the division.

This year's renewal, to be run Sunday at 1 1/16 miles on turf, is a great betting race with a host of contenders, including Shillelagh Slew and Seeking Shelter.

Shillelagh Slew, a $40,000 yearling purchase by owner David James, is well-regarded by trainer Mike DePaulo. He closed wide from far back when he made his debut on the grass Sept. 3, finishing third despite running greenly.

"He broke a step slow and then got shuffled back a bit in a huge field," DePaulo said. "He started to pick 'em up around the turn, came flying down the lane, and then galloped out well."

DePaulo said Shillelagh Slew had a bout of colic after a work Sept. 15, necessitating a trip to Guelph University's large-animal clinic, but was in fine shape for his second start, which he won by 2 1/2 lengths going seven furlongs on the main track.

"He was in the race from the time the gate opened," DePaulo said. "He was drawing off at the end, and then galloped out good. I think he just wants to run long, but I don't know if he's better on the dirt or the turf. He's a very good moving horse, and I think he's made to go a distance of ground."

Seeking Shelter won his maiden second time out, in a 6 1/2-furlong grass sprint. He subsequently finished second on the main track to heavily favored Edenwold in the Sept. 4 Simcoe Stakes, for graduates of local yearling sales.

Trainer Malcolm Pierce said he believes Seeking Shelter does his best running on the grass.

"He's adequate on the dirt, but I think he's much better on turf," Pierce said. "He was quite impressive the day he broke his maiden. I was thinking Cup and Saucer all along with him, but he was eligible for the Simcoe, and we needed to do something with him in the meantime."

Other possibilities in the 13-horse field of Canadian-breds include Run Justin Run, Golf Trip, and French Beret.

Run Justin Run beat Shillelagh Slew when he led throughout his lone turf attempt, and could have a productive future as a grass specialist.

Gold Trip, a maiden, is a half-brother to Free Vacation, Canada's champion turf female in 1999. He was boxed in through the stretch when second a one-mile turf allowance Oct. 2, in which French Beret finished third.