10/24/2002 11:00PM

Taiaslew trying to fill Fancy As shoes


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - There have been a lot of horses with outstanding records at both Stampede and Northlands Park who have shipped over the mountains to the West Coast, but not many of them have been successful.

Of course there have been exceptions. It was only last year that the Alberta prodigy Fancy As earned horse of the year honors in British Columbia with his impressive wins in the B.C. Derby and Premier's.

It's too early to compare Taiaslew to Fancy As, but Taiaslew brings some pretty strong credentials with him from Northlands Park. He has won all four of his races by a combined total of 31 lengths, and it will be interesting to see how he holds up when he takes on a quality field in the $125,000 Ascot Graduation Breeders' Cup Sunday at Hastings.

He has some advantages over most of the competition. He has a win going around three turns in the 1 1/16-mile Canadian Juvenile Oct. 14, his Beyer Speed Figures are much higher than any of the locals, and he could be more versatile than he looks on paper.

Except when he broke poorly in the Edmonton Juvenile, he has led from start to finish in all of his races. But according to his trainer, Greg Tracy, that's not by design. Tracy thinks Taiaslew will be just fine if he is not on the lead in the Ascot.

"There just hasn't been anyone that can run with him so far," said Tracy. "We usually put him behind horses in the mornings, and he's happy to be there. So I don't think it will be a problem if he's not in front."

It's a short run to the first turn from the start of 1 1/16-mile races at Hastings, but Tracy wasn't concerned about drawing post 9 in Sunday's race.

"Since the pace is likely to be quick, it should give him a chance to settle in just behind it without being bothered by other horses," he said. "I wasn't really sure how he would handle going a mile and a sixteenth, but he didn't have any trouble the first time and he seems pretty happy to be here, so I expect him to run a good race."

Tracy lives in Victor, Mont., which is just south of Missoula. Before moving his stable to Alberta this season, he raced mostly in the Midwest.

Tracy noted that the slot machines have raised purses in Alberta considerably, "and Alberta is a lot closer to home than Iowa or Minnesota. They're adding more slots at Northlands, so the purses look like they could be even better next year."

Trainer Gary Demorest won the Ascot two years ago with Diglett, and he thinks he has a good chance with Weepinbell this year. Weepinbell was very impressive in both his maiden win and his 2 3/4-length victory over stakes winner My Miss Emily in an allowance race Sept. 15. Being a Washington-bred, there haven't been many spots on the stakes schedule for

Weepinbell has been pointing to this race all year. "He seems like a good horse," said Demorest. "He does everything right, and he moves like a nice horse. He's done everything we've asked in the mornings and the way he lopes around there he should really improve going a distance."

Coup Fizzles this season's Campaigner

This year's Campaigner Award goes to 12-year-old Coup Fizzles who will be honored with a ceremony between the second and third races Sunday. The Campaigner Award is given to the oldest horse with the highest earnings that is still running at Hastings. Coup Fizzles looked like he could win a few more races after he scored a sharp victory over $4,000 claimers Sept. 7 but his owners, Raymond and Betty Bremner, have decided to retire him. He ran only three times this year, but he has been at the track all season, serving part-time duty as a pony. "We'll bring him back as a pony next year," said his trainer, Kathy Bremner. "He came out of his race in great shape, but we wanted to send him home on a high-note."

Coup Fizzles earned $185,062 in his career.