10/19/2005 11:00PM

Like Delta Colleen, Monashee overachieves


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Monashee wrapped up the local 3-year-old filly championship with a powerful 4 3/4-length win in the Grade 3 Breeders' Cup Ballerina at Hastings last Saturday. Considering there hasn't been a dominating horse in any of the handicap divisions, there's a good chance she will also be named the local horse of the year.

Trained by Tracy McCarthy, Monashee became only the second filly to complete the Oaks-Ballerina double in the same year. Delta Colleen achieved the feat in 1988.

Delta Colleen, who was trained by Harold Barroby, was one of the most exciting horses to ever race at Hastings. She lagged far behind the field during the early stages, but she usually put in a tremendous move from the quarter pole home, and in most cases she got up in time.

Conversely, Monashee has good speed and is usually involved right from the start. In the Ballerina, she broke sharply under leading rider Justin Stein, was eased into a stalking position until the quarter pole, and then drew away from the rest of the field. McCarthy, whose husband, Chris Loseth, was the regular rider of Delta Colleen, said she thinks there are similarities between the two.

"They're both horses that you wouldn't think would be as good as they are," she said. "Delta Colleen was just a little thing with not the best conformation, and she shouldn't have been the super horse that she was. But she was all racehorse and Monashee is similar. She's by Wolf Power and nobody thought she would be able to go a mile and an eighth. They both have a tremendous heart and willingness to run. I can't take credit for how good she is. It's all about her."

According to McCarthy, Monashee came out of the race in great shape. Although she's lightly raced with only seven starts this year, and appears to be peaking, McCarthy is going to turn her out for the rest of the year.

"She has got so many quirks that I really don't want to send her away when I couldn't be with her," she said. "We're going to give her some time off and hopefully she will grow up a little over the winter. She should be a pretty nice filly next year."

Bull Ranch proves a bargain buy

A lot of the drama surrounding the $136,000 Premier's was lost when British Columbia Derby winner Spaghetti Mouse was a late scratch. Bull Ranch, with Stein aboard, set very slow early fractions and had plenty left when the real running started, drawing off to an uncontested 7 1/4-length win over Alabama Rain.

For trainer Bob Rohman, it was the biggest win in his career. Even though the fractions were slow, Rohman wasn't sure about the outcome until they hit the stretch.

"I've only had him for a few weeks, and while I knew he was a very good horse, I didn't know if he would run that far," he said. "I guess he can."

Bull Ranch has turned out to be a good buy for his owners, Paul Minichiello and Rosemarie Sim, who race under Simichiello Stables, Inc. According to Minichiello, they paid $100,000 for the 3-year-old Bull Ranch not long after he won and was claimed out of a $40,000 claiming race at Del Mar on Aug. 24.

"Since he was a claimed horse we had to wait for 30 days until we could officially buy him," said Minichiello, referring to a California racing rule. "Luckily, the derby was on the 31st day so we could run him under our name there."

In two starts for his new owners, Bull Ranch has won $137,530.

Minichiello added that Bull Ranch will remain at Hastings and will probably make one more start before being turned out for the year.

"I was thinking of sending him back to California, but he should be a handy horse here next year and there are plenty of races between here and Emerald for him to run in," he said.

Will history repeat in Fantasy?

For the past two years a maiden stabled in Barn A has won the Fantasy. Jim Brown won it with Comic Opera in 2003 and Country Kat last year. Brown doesn't have a horse for the race this time, but his neighbor, Rob VanOverschot, has entered the maiden Starlite Strike, who looks like a serious threat on Saturday to the likely favorite, Langara Lass.

In her last start, Starlite Strike missed by a nose in the Sadie Diamond Futurity. As a daughter of Smart Strike she shouldn't have any trouble stretching out to 1 1/16 miles.

"We've only had three weeks to get her ready for a route, but she does everything we ask her to do so I think she will be fine," said VanOverschot.

On the same weekend Starlite Strike ran in the Sadie Diamond, another VanOverschot-trained horse, Power Chip, came close to winning the Jack Diamond Futurity. He finished third, a neck and a head behind the winner, Sungold Warrior.

"It was very frustrating to come so close in $100,000 races back to back," he said. "Hopefully our luck will change Saturday."