09/19/2007 11:00PM

130-pound burden threat to end Monashee's streak

EmailVANCOUVER, British Columbia - The Grade 3, $125,000 British Columbia Breeders' Cup Oaks is supposedly the feature race at Hastings on Saturday. Nonetheless, the presence of Monashee in the $50,000 Delta Colleen Stakes somewhat upstages the Oaks.

Monashee, 5, will be shooting for her 10th straight stakes win. The only other horse based in British Columbia known to have had a comparable streak is George Royal. He won nine straight races at the old Exhibition Park in 1964 before he lost in the Longacres Derby.

Monashee's streak started June 10, 2006 with a win over What a Blurr in the Strawberry Morn Handicap. In her last start, she won the City of Edmonton Distaff at Northlands Park on Aug. 25, carrying 128 pounds. She is assigned 130 pounds for the Delta Colleen.

The last time her jockey, David Wilson, used his whip on Monashee was in the B.C. Cup Distaff last year. If she runs her usual race Saturday, Monashee will obviously be tough to beat. Nonetheless, 130 pounds is a lot of weight for any horse to carry and she could be vulnerable.

Monashee is trained by Tracy McCarthy. The trainer is in Kentucky at the Keeneland sale but is expected to be back in time for the Oaks. Her assistant trainer and husband, Chris Loseth, is handling the training duties while she's away. Loseth retired as the all-time leading rider at Hastings and was recently inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

"The weight is a concern and I can't remember any filly or mare carrying that many pounds around here," said Loseth. "But what are you going to do? They had to put that much weight on her in order to make the race go."

The Grade 3 Ballerina Breeders' Cup on Oct.o13 has been the main target for Monashee all year. She won the Ballerina as a 3-year-old in 2005 but was forced to miss it last year when she became sick following her win in the City of Edmonton Distaff.

"We could have trained her into the Ballerina," said Loseth. "But it would be almost two months between races and she's jumping out of her skin now. Really, she couldn't be doing any better so we're going to go."

Win or lose Saturday, Monashee figures to be a heavy favorite when she runs back in the Ballerina at scale weights. The Ballerina will be the last time local fans will get to see her run. According to her owner, Ole Nielsen, Monashee will be sent to California, where she will likely run at least a couple of times before she's retired. Nielsen plans to send Monashee to Kentucky to be bred.

Rivoltella gets back on dirt

Oaks contender Rivoltella, trained by Tom Wenzel, has raced only once on dirt, winning the Washington Oaks at Emerald Downs over a wet track. Before that, Rivoltella was based in Southern California, where she raced three times on the synthetic Cushion Track at Hollywood Park and once on turf at Del Mar.

Rivoltella is an impressive-looking filly, and according to assistant trainer Keith Nations, she's a very sharp horse coming into the Oaks.

"After running on the synthetics in California it looked like she enjoyed running on the dirt at Emerald," Nations said. "She's also training as if she really likes it here too. I'm not sure if it's the cooler weather or what, but she's become a lot more aggressive in her training and I've especially noticed it since she arrived here."

Rivoltella worked an easy half-mile in 49.20 seconds at Hastings last Sunday morning. Nations was pleased with the work and was also happy with the way she handled the Hastings surface.

"She's a big horse, and one of the reasons we brought her up here early was to see how she would handle the bullring," said Nations, referring to the small Hastings oval. "She's trained for a week and a half over it, and so far so good. A little rain wouldn't bother us, either. We're not sure if it was the wet track that moved her up in the Oaks or just the change of scenery. She's a pretty nice filly and everything looks good heading into the race."

Rivoltella paid $23.60 for her win in the Washington Oaks. She's the only horse in the field with a win at 1 1/8 miles and anyone taking a good look at her in the paddock or the post parade will be attracted to her. She figures to be a much shorter price on Saturday.

Two works in one day part of filly's routine

Deadly Zone figures to be a longshot in the Oaks, but if she wins, her trainer, Rob VanOverschot, will probably credit her success to the unusual way he trained her leading up to the race.

In Daily Racing Form past performances, it shows that she worked two furlongs on Sept. 13 and also on Sept. 16. Actually, both days she worked twice but the Equibase database program that compiles the works for racetracks across North America allows only one work per day. In both instances Deadly Zone worked two furlongs, galloped out to the two-furlong mark, and then worked again.

"We're trying to build up her stamina to get the mile and an eighth," said VanOverschot. "She was a bit keyed up for her last race, and I'm also hoping this will help get her to relax a bit more."

In her last start, Deadly Zone finished fifth after being near the lead for the first six furlongs in the Hong Kong Jockey Club.