08/11/2002 11:00PM

'Monarch' rules over Sonoma

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EDMONTON, Alberta - The top 3-year-old fillies were in the spotlight at Northlands Park Saturday in the $75,000 Sonoma Handicap, which acts as the unofficial championship for the division.

Leading the way was Sweet Monarch, a British Columbia-bred who was upset by Code's Decree in the Northlands Oaks in late July but was looking to rebound against a similar field.

The game plan for trainer Dale Greenwood and jockey Richard Hamel was to have Sweet Monarch settle in behind the early pace, and she was treated to a perfect trip. Making her move at the quarter-pole, she easily outlasted all challengers down the lane after racing fourth through the first six furlongs.

The win firmly establishes Sweet Monarch ($4.50) as the top 3-year-old filly in Alberta and will likely end her time here with no more stakes on the schedule this summer.

The last major stakes for fillies is the Alberta Oaks, on Alberta Fall Classic Day here Sept. 21, but Sweet Monarch is not Alberta-bred and thus ineligible.

Code's Decree had another strong trip finishing third and will now point to the Alberta Oaks.

In last Friday's feature, the $40,000 Madamoiselle for older fillies and mares, Full Scream Ahead continued her dominance in the class.

With Quincy Welch in the irons, Full Scream Ahead ($3.70) sat off the early pace before powering into the lead down the backstretch and going on to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Confident.