05/05/2006 12:00AM

Monashee cranked for season debut

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Monashee and Delta Colleen are the only two horses ever to win the British Columbia Oaks and Ballerina in the same year. Delta Collen, who is in the local hall of fame, is one of the best horses ever to run at Hastings. Monashee won 5 of her 7 starts last year as a 3-year-old. She dominated fillies and mares in the Grade 3 Ballerina Breeders' Cup, and was named the 2005 horse of the year in British Columbia.

Trained by Tracy McCarthy, Monashee will make her first start at 4 in the Vancouver Sun next Saturday. Obviously, McCarthy has loftier goals for Monashee this year, but judging from the way Monashee has been working this spring, she's going to be tough to beat in the 6 1/2-furlong Sun.

Her six-furlong work in 1:11.60 April 29 is faster than most races are run at Hastings.

"She's wintered phenomenally," said McCarthy. "She's kept the weight she put on last fall and appears to be bigger and better. She worked [very fast] as well and she's doing it all on her own."

McCarthy hinted that Monashee could do some travelling this summer.

"I would have liked to start her a little later in the year, but we just can't keep her on the ground," she said. "I'm not sure where she'll run after the Sun, but we're looking around and we'll just see what comes up. People said we were crazy not to take her somewhere else for the winter, but they didn't have any races for her in Hawaii so we kept her home."

Justin Stein took over as the rider for Monashee when McCarthy's husband, Chris Loseth, retired last June. Stein is based at Woodbine this year and David Wilson has picked up the mount.

Possible rival for Monashee

Trainer John Snow was considering the Sun as a possible next start for Victorious Lady. A 4-year-old Florida-bred, Victorious Lady looked good winning a $50,000 optional claiming sprint, and what impressed Snow was the way she relaxed.

"We've been training her on the farm and it seems to have made a world of difference," he said. "She's calmed right down, and it certainly gives you more options when they can relax in a race."

Virtuous Lady breezed five furlongs in 1:03.60 with Anderson Ward aboard Friday morning.

"It was perfect," said Snow. "She did just what we wanted. I got her the last eighth in 12 seconds and she galloped out real strong."

Snow also is nominating Victorious Lady to the Hastings Park Stakes at Emerald Downs May 14, but said, "I'm leaning towards running her in the Sun."

Stewards got Mystic Pass call right

Many people on the Hastings backstretch were grumbling about the stewards' decision not to disqualify Mystic Pass when it appeared she veered in and caused Adventuresome to clip heels and drop her rider, Pedro Alvarado, in the seventh race on April 29.

The stewards ruled that Felipe Valdez, who was aboard Mystic Pass, was keeping a straight path when Mystic Pass was knocked off stride by Minus Nine, who was between Mystic Pass and Adventuresome. They said the incident was part of a chain reaction that wasn't caused by Mystic Pass.

Anyone that only saw the pan shot wouldn't have seen Mystic Pass's hind end get knocked sideways, but according to trainer Dino Condilenios, who didn't have a horse in the race and would have to be considered an unbiased observer, the head-on shot supports the stewards ruling.

"You can see clearly that Pedro's horse bumps into the horse next to him and then that one takes out Mystic Pass's rear end," Condilenios said. "They made the correct call."

Not on hand to make the call was senior steward Keith Smith.

"He's been off all year," said Doug Scott, a steward at Hastings. "He has an illness that they are having a hard time diagnosing so it's hard to say when he'll return."

Longden is Spaghetti Mouse's next

Trainer Gary Demorest elected not to run 2005 B.C. Derby winner Spaghetti Mouse in a $75,000 optional race this weekend. Instead, Demorest will train Spaghetti Mouse up to the 1 1/16-mile John Longden on May 22. Spaghetti Mouse finished third in the George Royal Stakes April 14.

"That would be three races within five weeks and there are plenty of other races to choose from later," he said.

The first major goal for Spaghetti Mouse is the Grade 3, $125,000 Lieutenant Governors July 1.