06/08/2006 12:00AM

Monashee takes on Slewpast


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Monashee, who was the 2005 local horse of the year, figures to be very tough to handle when she makes her second start of the year in the Strawberry Morn Stakes at Hastings Saturday. Slewpast looks like the main threat in the 1 1/16-mile feature, which drew seven fillies and mares.

Trained by Tracy McCarthy, Monashee stretches out following a strong second-place finish to

Spirit to Spare in the 6 1/2-furlong Vancouver Sun Handicap. Monashee figures to improve second time out, and she's also a much better horse when she goes a middle distance. She has excellent speed and drew the rail, so it's likely that her jockey, Dave Wilson, will put her right on the lead.

"We haven't really come up with a plan," said McCarthy. "If she breaks well I suspect she'll be in front. But she's going to do whatever she wants anyway, so there's no point in worrying about how the race is going to be run."

Slewpast, who comes out of the Robbie Anderson barn, finished just a half-length behind Monashee in the Sun, and she's a proven stakes winner at 1 1/16 miles. Last year she won five stakes, including the Liberation and B.C. Cup Stallion Stakes, which were both at 1 1/16 miles. She also has tactical speed.

Frank Fuentes rides.

La Belle Fleur, who is trained by Frank Barroby, hasn't shown much in her three races, all sprints, this year, but she's a much better horse going around three turns.