01/07/2008 12:00AM

Monashee faces tough test in Paseana


ARCADIA, Calif. - Had Tracy McCarthy brought good hockey and good salmon with her from Vancouver, Southern Californians would have welcomed that. The weather, though, she could have left at home.

"I'm getting a bad reputation here," McCarthy said Saturday morning. "They think I brought the rain here."

Fortunately, McCarthy did bring with her the mare Monashee, who was the queen of western Canada the past two years. Now age 6, Monashee is nearing the end of a career that has resulted in 17 wins in 23 starts. On Monday - weather permitting at Santa Anita she will compete in the $75,000 Paseana Handicap, one of her final stops before heading to the breeding shed next month.

"We thought we'd come here from Vancouver and run in some nicer weather," she said, laughing ruefully, "then go to Kentucky. She's going to be bred to Hard Spun."

In the Paseana, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track, Monashee will be facing stakes winners such as Downthedustyroad and Foxysox, as well as lightly raced imports Fonce De and Grain of Truth. Where Monashee fits with them is a complete guess. She obviously likes to win, but considering she was the odds-on favorite in 11 straight victories in Vancouver and Edmonton from June 2006 to last October, she might not be battle tested against horses of this caliber.

Monashee's win streak ended in November at Woodbine, where she

finished eighth of 10 as the favorite in the Maple Leaf Stakes.

"She had no racing luck," McCarthy said. "The race didn't set up at all for her. The rider took a hold, she was surrounded by horses, and had nowhere to run."

Monashee then came to Santa Anita, where McCarthy stabled her with trainer Jason Orman, in whose name Monashee will run. McCarthy wants jockey Mike Smith to have Monashee forwardly placed early.

Monday marks the end of the first week in which Santa Anita is operating on its new Thursday-through-Monday schedule. General admission Monday is free.

There are eight others entered against Monashee. Downthedustyroad won the La Brea Stakes here last winter, but she has disappointed in a pair of sprints following a nine-month layoff.

Foxysox won her lone start on a

synthetic surface in December 2006 at Hollywood Park. She tired to finish last on the turf in the Dahlia Handicap on Dec. 16, her first start in nearly nine months.

Fonce De and Grain of Truth were third and fourth, respectively, in last month's Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood.