07/07/2009 11:00PM

Monsoon Rain looking for a repeat in Wheat City


Monsoon Rain, who recorded his first stakes victory in last year's Wheat City at Assiniboia Downs, will be well backed to repeat in Friday's $30,000 renewal of the one-mile stakes for 3-year-olds and upward.

A 7-year-old owned by Larry Carter, Monsoon Rain was running a winning streak to three in the Wheat City last August and stretched it to five in the R.J. Speers and Gold Cup to earn titles as Manitoba's horse of the year and champion older male.

Chad Torevell has taken over as Monsoon Rain's trainer here after the gelding's former trainer, Martin Drexler, relocated to Ontario.

And, since opening up his 2009 campaign with a third-place finish in the five-furlong prep for the Free Press, Monsoon Rain has started a new streak with wins in the six-furlong Free Press and the 7 1/2-furlong prep for the Wheat City.

Regular rider Carlos Marquez will be in the irons on Friday as Monsoon Rain breaks from the favorable outside post while facing five rivals as the 124-pound highweight.

The Max, a 6-year-old who finished 3 1/2 lengths behind Monsoon Rain as the runner-up in the Wheat City prep, was making his first start in 16 months while returning to the barn of Albert Blake.

Winner of the Derby Trial and beaten a head in the Manitoba Derby in 2006, The Max has been campaigned lightly while racing at Woodbine and Fair Grounds over the intervening years.

If he does not bounce off the good return effort, then The Max could prove a mild upsetter under returning rider Chavion Chow.

Brinello, third in the prep, also will be back for more in the Wheat City. A Manitoba-bred 7-year-old gelding trained by Carl Anderson, Brinello has won the last two runnings of Assiniboia's restricted Agassiz at one mile.

Rounding out the field will be Grow Up, Arthurlooksgood, and No Reply.

Grow Up, also trained by Blake, is coming off an impressive score in a one-mile entry-level allowance and should be a pace presence.

Arthurlooksgood is coming off a second-level allowance score at a mile, while No Reply ended third in the Free Press but was last of five in the Wheat City prep.