07/08/2003 11:00PM

There's the best and then the rest

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EDMONTON, Alberta - It has been years since the local Thoroughbred scene has been dominated by just a handful of horses, but that's certainly the case at Northlands Park this year with a huge gap between the stars and the rest of the crowd.

In the 3-year-old colts division, Taiaslew has shown he could be one of the finest horses to ever race in Alberta, and Edmonton fans will now have just one chance to see the leading candidate for Alberta horse of the year honors.

After looking at his options, trainer Greg Tracy decided to ship the Washington-bred Taiaslew to Northlands Park in Manitoba earlier this week to run in Sunday's $35,000 Derby Trial.

It will give Taiaslew, a winner of 7 of 8 lifetime starts, two weeks to get comfortable in his new surroundings prior to the $100,000 Manitoba Derby Aug. 4.

Initially, Tracy was planning to run Taiaslew in the Ky Alta here July 18 and Taiaslew will now make his only start of the year in Edmonton in the Aug. 23 Canadian Derby.

The other dominant force in Alberta this year has been Sly Lady, trained by Ron Grieves. The 4-year-old filly has won all three of her starts this year in convincing fashion, and according to Grieves she just might be the best horse in Alberta right now.

"She could be the star of the track right now; she's going superb," said Grieves, who will point Sly Lady to the $40,000 John Patrick here July 19 and then the $75,000 Edmonton Distaff Aug. 23.

Unlike Taiaslew, Sly Lady won't be going anywhere soon as Grieves plans to leave her in Alberta regardless of her performance.