09/28/2007 12:00AM

Facing Monashee an act of courage or folly?

EmailVANCOUVER, British Columbia - It's too early to say for sure, but there's a good chance there will be a short field for the Grade 3 Ballerina Breeders' Cup on Oct. 13 at Hastings.

Monashee will be a heavy favorite in the Ballerina and logic dictates she will be tough to beat. After all, Monashee packed 130 pounds in her easy win over Lady Raj in the $50,000 Delta Colleen Handicap last Saturday - her 10th straight stakes win - and she will only have to carry scale weight of 123 pounds in the Ballerina. Three-year-old fillies will carry 120 pounds.

According to her trainer, Tracy McCarthy, Monashee came out of the Delta Colleen better than ever and is on track for the Ballerina. That's a scary thought for anyone planning on running against her.

"She came out of the race in phenomenal shape," said McCarthy. "We made a dumb move by giving her an extra day off. Usually we walk her for a couple of days after she runs, but since she carried all that weight we thought it wouldn't hurt her to give her an extra day off. It didn't hurt her but it was pretty dangerous for our help."

McCarthy and Monashee's owner, Ole Nielsen, were more nervous than usual prior to the Delta Colleen.

"It was a combination of the heavy rain that made the track a bit tiring and that she was carrying 130 pounds that had us a little concerned," said McCarthy. "But she overcame it all. She's an incredible horse."

Monashee, a gray 5-year-old mare by Wolf Power, more than likely will make it 11 straight in the Ballerina, her final local start.

"We would like to run her three more times after the Ballerina before we retire her," said McCarthy. "We might fly her to Woodbine for a race in early November or send her straight to California. One thing for sure, she won't run if there's even so much as a blemish on her. Right now, we're just taking it one race at a time and looking forward to running her in the Ballerina."

The last horse to carry 130 pounds and win at Hastings was Pole Position in the 1979 B.C. Derby when it was still a handicap. Pole Position came right back to win the B.C. Premiers at 121 pounds when it was a scale-weight race. Herb Ollive, currently a steward at Hastings, rode Pole Position in both races.

Weight a concern for True Metropolitan

The Premiers on Oct. 14 is now a handicap and that begs the question: How much weight will be assigned to True Metropolitan, who easily won the Sir Winston Churchill carrying 127 pounds last Sunday?

True Metropolitan seems to be better than he was last year when he won the Sovereign Award as the best older horse in Canada. Prior to his win last weekend, True Metropolitan won the 1 3/8-mile Speed to Spare at Northlands by 10 lengths. He figures to be a heavy favorite in the $100,000 Premiers, which is also at 1 3/8 miles.

According to trainer Terry Jordan, True Metropolitan came out of his race in good shape.

"The only issue regarding the Premiers is the weight," he said. "I don't think he should pick up any weight off of his win because he's going to have to go a mile and three-eighths in the Premiers. You can't give a horse a lot of weight going that distance."

Jordan also won the Grade 3 B.C. Breeders' Cup Oaks with Alpine Garden last Saturday. Usually the Oaks winner takes on older fillies and mares in the Ballerina. That's probably not going to happen with Alpine Garden, who was sold by Bob Cheema to Peter Redekop after the race.

"I don't like to run horses in races where I don't think they can win," said Jordan. "Alpine Garden is a very nice filly, but if the gray mare's going to run we're probably going to pass."

Jordan will be happy to saddle Dancing Allstar in the $100,000 Sadie Diamond Futurity next Sunday and Star Prospector in the $100,000 Jack Diamond Futurity next Monday.

Dancing Allstar appeared to be full of herself when she was galloping at Hastings on Friday morning. In her last start, she won the fillies division of the CTHS Sales Stakes by 10 lengths.

Star Prospector, who was also purchased by Redekop, had to work a little harder to beat Desert Alf by one length in the colts and geldings division. It was the third straight stakes win for Star Prospector, who also won the B.C. Cup Nursery and New Westminster Stakes.

"They're doing fine," said Jordan. "They should both be favorites, and you know that's the way I like to have it."

Fee rises for handicapping tourney

Due to the popularity of the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship, Hastings has bumped up the entry fee for its qualifying tournament from $100 to $150. The local contest, which takes place Oct. 14, will be limited to 150 players. Local handicappers began signing up for the contest Friday.

The winner will receive $13,500 plus an all-expenses paid trip to the 2008 National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas. The second- and third-place finishers will also receive a trip to the National Championship.