05/24/2006 12:00AM

Taiaslew just looks too classy


CALGARY, Alberta - Taiaslew, fifth in the Stampede Park Sprint Championship after a troubled trip, heads a field of six older horses in an optional $40,000 claimer at six furlongs which runs as the featured seventh race here Friday.

Taiaslew, a multiple stakes winner and the champion 3-year-old on this circuit in 2003, is sitting at $399,777 in career earnings with 11 wins from just 22 career starts. Leg problems have limited Taiaslew's starts the past two campaigns, but he is the class of this field. He breaks from post 4 under Stephan Heiler, who has been red hot of late.

There is plenty of speed signed on, with Sparhawk, a winner over this kind on April 26, and 2004 Alberta Derby winner Fly Esteem expected to duel for the early lead.

* Monday's one-mile Ken Pearson Memorial looked to belong to the front-running Stole One, who had a 1 1/2-length advantage at the eighth pole and had increased that margin inside the sixteenth pole. But the picture changed dramatically in the final 70 yards, as Wild Bender and Braetta, both seemingly out of contention in midstretch, made bold moves at the tiring pacesetter.

Wild Bender got up for a head victory in the last jump with Braetta settling for a dead heat for second with Stole One.

"We had to take up into the first turn and I just grabbed a hold of her and let her settle into stride," said winning rider Rickey Walcott. "When I asked her in the lane, she just took off for me."