05/04/2007 12:00AM

Monashee returns in a sprint


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Monashee will make her 2007 debut in the $50,000 Brighouse Belles, a 6 1/2-furlong race for fillies and mares at Hastings Sunday. Only five will start, but they all are are multiple stakes winners.

Monashee hasn't raced since winning the City of Edmonton Distaff at Northlands Park last August, and her last win sprinting was in a $50,000 optional race as a 3-year-old in 2005. Nonetheless, she still figures to be a solid favorite. She dominated the local filly and mare division last year, and considering that she carried 125 pounds in her last two starts of 2007, she gets in light at 122 pounds Sunday.

In her only sprint in 2006, Monashee finished second to Spirit to Spare in the Vancouver Sun. She then reeled off four straight wins before being turned out in midsummer.

"She came down with plural pneumonia after her race in Edmonton," said McCarthy. "She got sick shipping and it developed into a very serious condition."

Monashee has looked very sharp in her morning workouts, especially her six-furlong move in 1:14 April 29.

Dave Wilson will ride Monashee.

Spirit to Spare will likely be the one they have to catch. She led from start to finish to beat Monashee when they met in the Vancouver Sun last year. Spirit to Spare didn't hit the board in four subsequent starts, but she looked very sharp working a bullet four furlongs in 47 seconds May 1.

"She's actually training better this year compared to last," said Longstaff. "Felipe had other options, but after her the work he decided to ride her."

Langara Lass, Slewpast and Socorro County round out the field.