07/10/2007 11:00PM

Monashee (130) to carry that weight


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - In the modern age of Thoroughbred racing it's rare that a top handicap horse is assigned a serious weight. The reason for that is there are so many opportunities for good horses in North America that racing secretaries don't want to discourage a top horse from running at their track.

It's a somewhat different situation at Hastings where one horse, Monashee, has dominated the filly and mare division for the past two years. Monashee, who has won seven stakes races in a row, has been assigned 130 pounds for the Vancouver Sun Handicap Sunday. According to her trainer, Tracy McCarthy, Monashee will run despite the assignment.

"She's a sound horse and she's training beautifully right now," said McCarthy. "I think she's capable of carrying the weight, so we're going to run."

McCarthy was considering passing up the Vancouver Sun and waiting for the B.C. Cup Distaff on Aug. 6, but after considering Monashee's schedule for the rest of the year, she decided it made sense to run her Sunday.

"It sets up the rest of her year a lot better if she runs here instead of on B.C. Cup Day," she said. "Obviously she can't run in both because of how much weight she would have to carry."

If Monashee runs Sunday - it's possible that the race might not fill - McCarthy said she would likely run in the $100,000 City of Edmonton Distaff at Northlands Park Aug. 25. Following that, Monashee could end up in California before she comes back for the Grade 3 Ballerina Breeders' Cup Oct. 13.

"After the Distaff we might give her a try on the turf at Del Mar," said McCarthy. "There's also a race at Fairplex we're looking at."

McCarthy would rather keep Monashee at Hastings for the rest of the year and then send her east for a couple of races before she retires at the end of the year.

"It's a shame we have to leave," she said. "I know the fans want to see good horses run. She's being asked to carry 130 pounds, and if the other trainers and owners don't want to run against her, well, there's nothing we can do about that. We like racing here, and I don't think we should be penalized because we have a nice horse."

Napa earning respect

Trainer Dino Condilenios is starting to appreciate just how good Napa is. Napa, with Frank Fuentes aboard, came from off the pace to win the $53,642 Supernaturel last Saturday. It was her second stakes win at the meet and she has to be considered the leader of the local 3-year-old filly division at Hastings.

Condilenios wasn't truly that high on her before the season started, and even going into the Supernaturel, he had less-than-lofty expectations.

"She just doesn't show you a lot in the mornings," he said. "But when you lead her over there she becomes a different animal."

Condilenios wasn't sure when Napa would run next, but if she's training okay, she'll likely run in the B.C. Cup Dogwood Aug. 6.

"She has a few issues so we're not going to push her into any particular race," he said. "Our main goal for her is the B.C. Oaks, so we're going to try and have her at her best then."

The Grade 3 $125,000 B.C. Breeders' Cup Oaks runs Sept. 22.

Calender Girl, who is trained by Terry Jordan, took a two-length lead into the stretch in the Supernaturel but couldn't hold off Napa. She finished a clear second over Loving Laur.

"It was a good race for her but I'm never happy finishing second," said Jordan. "She came out of it in good shape, and since she isn't eligible for the race on B.C. Cup Day, we'll ship her to Alberta for the Sonoma. Plus, the Sonoma's worth $100,000."

The Sonoma is on Aug. 11 at Northlands Park.

Ookashada leads 3-year-old males

Last year's local 2-year-old champ, Ookashada, is the clear leader in the 3-year-old colts and geldings division at Hastings.

Ookashada, who was coming off of a third-place finish in the Alberta Derby, held off a determined bid by Bad Sneakers to win the $54,521 Chris Loseth Handicap at Hastings Sunday.

Ridden by Pedro Alvarado, Ookashada broke sharply and settled in behind Californiatruegrit, who led for the first six furlongs.

"He seemed a lot happier once he made the lead," said Alvarado. "I was a bit surprised that I had to ask him to run a bit during the first part of the race."

Ookashada's trainer, Toni Cloutier, thinks that because Ookashada was on the inside of Californiatruegrit early, he was probably a bit intimidated.

"He seems to run a lot better when he's out from the rail," said Cloutier. "Once he moved to the middle of the track he really picked it up."

Cloutier said that Ookashada came out of the race in "great shape," and will be pointed to the B.C. Cup Stellar's Jay Aug. 6.