06/23/2004 11:00PM

Taiaslew faces tough challenge

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EDMONTON, Alberta - Northlands patrons will have their first look at the current crop of older stakes runners Saturday when a field of six talented sprinters meet in the Journal Handicap, a $40,000 race at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Taiaslew, last year's champion 3-year-old in Alberta, will make his first appearance of this season in the province.

Greg Tracy trains Taiaslew, a front-running son of Slewdledo who won four consecutive stakes, including the Alberta Derby, last year. Taiaslew also has had the benefit of winter racing at Turf Paradise, where he won the Coyote Handicap.

Taiaslew is the 122-pound highweight and will break from post 5 with Real Simard aboard.

Among his chief rivals will be Sixthirtyjoe, Alberta's champion older horse in 2002 and runner-up in that division a year ago. With Rickey Walcott aboard, Sixthirtyjoe leaves from post 3 and is coming off a victory in a six-furlong allowance.

Fussy's Kid, who drew the rail, won a pair of allowances at Calgary this spring. His rider, Quincy Welch, was a runaway leader in the jockey standings at Calgary with 65 wins, 15 more than Walcott in second.

Rindanica, the second high weight at 120 pounds, won four races last year, including two stakes, and is off to another fine campaign.

With his regular rider Perry Winters, Rindanica won an allowance at Calgary and was runner-up in the Teeworth Plate and Herald Gold Plate.

Deputy Country and Eternal Secrecy both get in at 114 pounds. Deputy Country, from leading trainer Red Smith's stable, boasts a win in the Teeworth Plate this spring.