08/17/2006 11:00PM

Two Crown race winners to Canadian Derby

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Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Edenwold, winning the Queen's Plate, will fly in to Edmonton on Monday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Edenwold and Shillelagh Slew will be taking their rivalry on the road. Both are heading to Northlands Park in Edmonton for the Aug. 26 Canadian Derby, a 1 3/8-mile race that offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $300,000.

Edenwold and Shillelagh Slew met in the first two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown, with Edenwold winning Woodbine's Queen's Plate and Shillelagh Slew winning Fort Erie's Prince of Wales via disqualification. Edenwold skipped the Breeders' at Woodbine on Aug. 6, when Shillelagh Slew finished third to Royal Challenger.

Trained by Josie Carroll, Edenwold was prominent throughout when winning the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate, but faltered slightly after pushing a very quick pace in the 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales and finished fifth.

Edenwold was not nominated to the Breeders', since the Canadian Derby already was on his agenda.

"We've been looking at it since the Prince of Wales," said Carroll. "The timing was right. It gave him a little time between races."

Edenwold is scheduled to fly out to Edmonton on Monday evening.

"He's a pretty good traveler," said Carroll, who had Edenwold at Santa Anita over the winter. "The horse has flown to California and back."

Emile Ramsammy, Edenwold's regular rider, will make the trip west.

Shillelagh Slew finished fifth, beaten 5 1/4 lengths, in the Queen's Plate, which was just his second start of the season and his first since a seven-furlong allowance score eight weeks earlier.

Evidently benefiting from the run in the Plate, Shillelagh Slew stalked the pace and finished second behind Malakoff in the Prince of Wales before being promoted to first upon the disqualification. That decision is under appeal to the Ontario Racing Commission, but a hearing date has not been set.

Mike DePaulo, who trains Shillelagh Slew for owner David James, admits that he made the decision to go to the Canadian Derby fairly recently.

"We knew the race was there, and I do have some Alberta connections who were telling me I should come," said DePaulo. "Cutting back from a mile and a half to a mile and three-eighths seems like a good thing to do."

Shillelagh Slew is scheduled to leave for Edmonton on Wednesday night, and his regular rider, Dino Luciani, will be there for the Canadian Derby.

Switch to turf sparks Arctic Laur

Arctic Laur has taken a new lease on life since moving to turf two starts ago. On Sunday, she will go for her third straight win, and second straight stakes win, when she faces seven older rivals in the $125,000 Victoriana.

A 1 1/16-mile race, the Victoriana is for Ontario-sired fillies and mares. It should have a decent pace, with both Financingavailable and Top Ten List in the lineup.

"If there's lots of speed, that's good," said Sid Attard, who trains Arctic Laur for owner Tony Gaito.

Claimed for $20,000 from her debut here last October, Arctic Laur won her maiden for $32,000 in December and seemed destined for a career in the claiming ranks after picking up minor awards in her first three starts this spring.

"I tried to put her in for $40,000, and $32,000," said Attard. "I was even going to run her for $25,000."

But when a first-level turf allowance for Ontario-sired fillies at a mile was offered July 1, Attard entered Arctic Laur and was rewarded when she rallied to win by a nose at 12-1.

Although Arctic Laur had not been nominated to the $125,000 Passing Mood, a seven-furlong turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies here July 26, the stakes did not seem to be coming up that tough, and Attard and Gaito put up the $2,500 required to supplement her. The gamble paid off when Jim McKnight, who had guided Arctic Laur to her first turf score, brought Arctic Laur from ninth place in the field of 11 en route to a three-quarter-length victory.

"McKnight timed it beautifully," said Attard. "You can't move too soon with her. The first time, he knew he'd kind of moved a little early and almost got beat."

In addition to finding a compatible partner in McKnight, Arctic Laur had blinkers added to her equipment in her last start before moving to turf.

"She was doing nothing before," said Attard. "She was lazy. The blinkers have really helped out."

Stakes horses work on turf

The turf training track was open for business Friday, and several horses prepped for upcoming stakes engagements.

French Beret, who finished second as the favorite in the Breeders', went five furlongs in company with Go to the Sun, a recent conditioned claiming winner. Both were clocked in 1:00, breezing.

Trainer Mark Frostad said French Beret is scheduled to make his next start in the Grade 3, $100,000 Saranac, a 1 3/16-mile turf race at Saratoga on Sept. 3.

Strike Softly, a Frostad-trained horse coming off a second-place finish in the Wonder Where, worked five furlongs in 1:02.60. She is preparing for the $125,000 Ontario Colleen, a one-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies here Sept. 2.

Last Answer, runner-up in the Grade 2 Northern Dancer at 1 1/2 miles on soft turf here July 23, breezed a mile in 1:39.80 under regular rider Emile Ramsammy.

Trainer Mike Keogh is looking to run Last Answer here in next Sunday's Grade 2, $300,000 Nijinsky, also a 1 1/2-mile turf race.

Le Cinquieme Essai, who finished a close second in the one-mile Sea O'Erin on turf at Arlington Park on Aug. 5, breezed an easy four furlongs in 50.60. Trained by Paul Nielsen, Le Cinquieme Essai is nominated to Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Play the King at seven furlongs on turf, but is slated to go straight to the Sept. 17 Woodbine Mile. Le Cinquieme Essai finished third in the Grade 1, $1 million race here last September.