07/29/2009 11:00PM

Monsoon warning issued at Assiniboia

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Monsoon Rain, who is rolling through Manitoba's older horse division for the second straight year, will be seeking his fourth straight win when he starts in Saturday's 1 1/16-mile R.J. Speers at Assiniboia Downs.

Monsoon Rain, a Kentucky-bred 7-year-old gelding owned by Larry Carter, won the $30,000 Speers last August when trained by Martin Drexler.

This year, in the hands of trainer Chad Torevell, Monsoon Rain has won the six-furlong Free Press, the 7 1/2-furlong allowance prep for the Wheat City, and the one-mile Wheat City since finishing third in his five-furlong season debut.

Breaking from the outside post on Saturday under regular rider Carlos Marquez, Monsoon Rain should be able to stalk the pace and will be difficult to deny as the probable odds-on favorite.

No Reply and The Max, the two-three finishers in the Wheat City, will be back to try Monsoon Rain in the Speers.

Alan Cuthbertson takes over aboard No Reply, who turned in his best effort in four local appearances when finishing two lengths behind Monsoon Rain in that last encounter.

The Max, who had been away for 16 months when he was beaten 2 1/2 lengths by Monsoon Rain as the runner-up in the Wheat City prep, may have bounced a bit when third in the Wheat City.

Breaking from the inside post here, The Max could improve under leading rider Larren Delorme.

There is new stakes blood here in the form of Grow Up and Paullinus, the one-two finishers in a $15,000 optional claimer/second-level allowance over one mile on July 18.

Grow Up was using his front-running style to capture his second straight race at the distance and could take these a long way. Paullinus, a late-running type, will be looking for a pace meltdown.

Saturday's nine-race card also includes the $15,000 North Dakota Stallion Stakes, a restricted six-furlong race for 2-year-olds, plus a $14,000 Quarter Horse Futurity and a $7,000 Quarter Horse allowance.