Taiaslew Seeks Ninth Stakes Win in Gold Cup

Eight-time stakes winner Taiaslew is the 123-pound highweight in a field of nine entered for the $100,000 Phoenix Gold Cup Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs March 13 at Turf Paradise in Arizona.

The Gold Cup is one of the highlights of the Turf Paradise season. The program includes the $40,000 Sun City Handicap for fillies and mares at one mile.

Taiaslew, owned by Shelli Tracy and Stan Ryan, has won eight stakes, seven of them in Canada. The 4-year-old Washington-bred gelding by Slewdledo won stakes at Assiniboia Downs, Northlands Park, and Stampede Park in 2002 and 2003.

Last year, Taiaslew won the 1 1/16-mile Alberta Derby (Can-III) at Stampede, and finished second in the 1 1/8-mile Manitoba Derby (Can-III) at Assiniboia and the 1 3/8-mile Canadian Derby (Can-III) at Northlands.

Trained by Dave Van Winkle, Taiaslew is versatile. In his only start of 2004 on Feb. 21, Taiaslew defeated the top sprinter Boston Common to win the six-furlong Coyote Stakes by 6 3/4 lengths at Turf Paradise. Though the Arizona track is known for producing quick times, the final time of 1:07.42 in the Coyote is noteworthy.

Glenn Corbett is named to ride the winner of $355,241 at 123 pounds.

The Gold Cup traditionally lures California invaders, and this year is no exception. Frank and Karen Lewkowitz's R. Baggio, winner of the Paradise Mile on the grass at Turf Paradise Jan. 3, and Bernard Schiappa's Giovannetti, winner of the Ken Maddy Sprint Handicap at Golden Gate Fields Feb. 21, ship in from the Golden State. They're weighted at 120 and 119 pounds, respectively.

R. Baggio, trained by Eric Kruljac, finished sixth in the Daytona Handicap at Santa Anita Park in his last start, but he does have a sprint victory at Turf Paradise to his credit. Hoogie Drexler is named to ride the Kentucky-bred 6-year-old Chimes Band gelding.

Giovannetti, trained by Frank Monteleone, won the Maddy by 1 1/4 lengths. Last year, the 5-year-old California-bred gelding by Memo won the Gold Cup after a second-place finish in the Maddy. Danny Sorenson is named to ride.

Here's the field, in post-position order, with jockeys and weights:

1 Taiaslew Glenn Corbett 123 pounds
2 Our Bobby V. Luis Jauregui 114
3 Iron Halo Joel Campbell 113
4 R. Baggio Hoogie Drexler 120
5 Fonz's Paul Atkinson 115
6 Grimm Scott Stevens 117
7 Canny Fly Matt Garcia 114
8 Giovannetti Danny Sorenson 119
9 Golden Door Jocelyne Kenny-Martin 110

Post time for the Gold Cup, the ninth race on a 10-race program, is set for 5:10 p.m. Mountain time.

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