09/29/2003 12:00AM

Taiaslew's year didn't go as hoped


EDMONTON, Alberta - After a spectacular 2-year-old season in which he won 4 of 5 starts, Taiaslew arrived in Calgary for the 2003 spring Thoroughbred meet as the unquestioned favorite to win the $150,000 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park in August.

The first major target on trainer Greg Tracy's agenda was the $100,000 Alberta Derby at Stampede Park in June. Taiaslew destroyed that field by 7 1/2 lengths.

Tracy then shipped the Washington-bred Taiaslew to Assiniboia Downs to prepare for the $100,000 Manitoba Derby in early August.

Everything appeared to be on schedule for Tracy, who was looking to capture western Canada's unofficial version of the Triple Crown by claiming victory in the Manitoba, Canadian, and British Columbia derbies.

In the Manitoba Derby, Taiaslew took what appeared to be an insurmountable lead into the stretch but was caught in the stretch by Hero's Pleasure, prompting Tracy to openly question the riding tactics of jockey Real Simard. That's when things began to unravel.

In the Canadian Derby, Taiaslew suffered the same fate when he surrendered the lead to Raylene. Tracy put Quincy Welch in the irons for the $250,000 B.C. Derby on Sept. 21.

Facing the toughest field of his career, Taiaslew was not a factor in the race and finished fourth.

With the season coming to a close in western Canada, Tracy has decided to ship Taiaslew back to Montana for the winter.

Taiaslew has earned $331,241, and he will return to Alberta next spring looking to rebound.