05/26/2003 12:00AM

Taiaslew romps, derby next

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CALGARY, Alberta - Taiaslew confirmed his status as the favorite for the June 14 Alberta Derby with an 8 1/2-length victory over Shawteesh in the one-mile Hoofprint on My Heart Handicap here Sunday afternoon.

Taiaslew, a Washington-bred son of Slewdledo, broke well from the outside post in the field of seven 3-year-olds and the outcome of the $40,000 race was never in doubt.

Cool Bender was a head in front after a quarter-mile run in 23.20 seconds, but Taiaslew's jockey Real Simard was sitting to Cool Bender's outside with what he described as "a ton of horse."

Taiaslew, trained by Greg Tracy, glided to the lead down the backstretch with his ears pricked and Simard had him under wraps down the lane to complete the mile in 1:37:60.

Shawteesh rallied from last to finish second by a nose over Cool Bender.

"He just towed me to the front - our plan was to wait and make a move at the quarter pole," Simard said.

Taiaslew, Alberta's 2002 juvenile champion, paid $3 while recording his sixth consecutive win and fifth stakes tally in this province.

The only blemish on Taiaslew's record occurred last Oct. 27 at Hastings when he finished third behind Illusive Force in the Ascot Graduation.

Taiaslew's main rival in the 73rd running of the Grade 3 Alberta Derby, a $100,000 stakes, is expected to be Gamblin Caper, who is slated to ship from Hastings, where he runs in Saturday's Klondike.