07/17/2002 11:00PM

'Monarch' heads big Oaks field


EDMONTON, Alberta - The lean times in the local 3-year-old filly division may be in the past as a field of 10 entered Saturday's $40,000 Northlands Oaks at a mile.

Racing secretary Fred Hilts said he was encouraged by the response, since the 1 1/16-mile Penny Ridge attracted only five fillies on closing day at Calgary, and the 6 1/2-furlong Chariot Chaser had only four starters here July 1.

Despite the large field, the Penny Ridge winner, Sly Lady, and Fancy Prancer, who won the Mount Royal at Calgary and the Chariot Chaser, chose not to enter the Oaks.

In their absence, Sweet Monarch, who will break from post 3 as the 118-pound highweight under rider Richard Hamel, may be the filly to beat.

After Sweet Monarch trounced her rivals by 7 1/2 lengths in the Lilac on June 1, trainer Dale Greenwood decided to try her against the boys in the Alberta Derby. She responded with a creditable fourth-place finish, beaten 5 1/4 lengths by Lord Shogun.

Leaving from the rail will be Sister Patsy Ellen, who generally races near the pace. Perry Winters receives the return call to ride Sister Patsy Allen after finishing second with her in the Chariot Chaser.

Trainer Deanne Davies, whose Sixthirtyjoe has been dominant in the stakes for older horses, appears to have another live one in Big Babe, who was third in Chariot Chaser after winning an allowance race. Desmond Bryan has the mount.

Leading rider Quincy Welch will ride Beausox, whom he guided to an allowance victory in her last start.

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