07/11/2003 12:00AM

Taiaslew strong favorite


WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Alberta Derby winner Taiaslew will be odds-on to win the $35,000 Derby Trial at Assiniboia Downs Sunday.

Taiaslew, a 3-year-old gelding by Slewdledo, comes into the race off three straight wins, his most recent a romping score in the Grade 3 Alberta Derby June 14 at the Derby Trial distance of 1 1/16 miles.

Taiaslew, trained by Greg Tracy, has won 7 of 8 lifetime starts.

Prior to the Alberta Derby, he won the President's and Hoofprint on My Heart this year. Last year at 2 he won the Edmonton Juvenile, Birdcatcher, and Canadian Juvenile.

Taiaslew's only career loss came at Hastings as a 2-year-old when he finished third, beaten 5 1/2 lengths, in the Ascot Graduation.

If Taiaslew has a weakness, it doesn't show. He has tactical speed that allows him to take the lead or come from just off the pace, and he has also proven he can duel on the pace and then draw away from horses.

In the Hoofprint on My Heart at one mile May 25 at Stampede Park, Taiaslew dueled through a half-mile in 46 seconds with local Golden Boy winner Cool Bender before drawing off to win by 8 1/2 lengths in 1:37.40.

Taiaslew's main rival figures to be Northern Affair, trained by Keith Corbel.

While Northern Affair does not yet have the race seasoning of Taiaslew, he has shown considerable talent.

In his first lifetime start May 17 at Stampede Park, Northern Affair had a rough trip and finished third.

Shipped to Assiniboia Downs, Northern Affair made his next two starts in June, winning his maiden by 12 lengths against special weight company at six furlongs and then beating older allowance rivals by more than 10 lengths at seven furlongs.

Rounding out the field are Sand Rush, a stablemate of Northern Affair; Chase Creek; 2002 Buffalo Stakes winner Wild Rule; Zero U Zalema; and recent Manitoba Stakes winner Fancy Bru.