07/27/2007 12:00AM

Question is, will Monashee's race fill?


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Monashee and Spaghetti Mouse figure to be the top stars of B.C. Cup Day at Hastings on Aug. 6. A total of 100 horses have been nominated to the eight races that make up the biggest day of the year at Hastings.

Spaghetti Mouse looks like a solid favorite in a strong field for the $100,000 Redekop B.C. Cup Classic. Monashee towers over the others in the Distaff.

The big concern for Hastings management is whether the Distaff will attract enough runners to be carded.

Because of the overwhelming presence of Monashee, who has won seven stakes races in a row, the last scheduled stakes race for fillies and mares at Hastings, the Vancouver Sun, was cancelled.

When it was clear that the Sun wasn't going to fill, an extra race was put up that excluded Monashee, and five of the horses that are nominated to the Distaff got a chance to run. Starlite Strike won that race.

If the Distaff fills, Monashee could be vulnerable. She was assigned 130 pounds for the Sun and that's probably not going to change for the Distaff.

Monashee hasn't raced since she won the Strawberry Morn on June 23, so she will be coming into the Distaff off of a bit of a layoff. Also, she will carry a lot of weight over 1 1/8 miles. That's a lot to ask of any horse, even one that has dominated her opponents as much as Monashee has. If any horse is going to beat Monashee at Hastings before she retires at the end of the year, this could be the time to do it.

Another reason the Distaff has a good chance of filling is because of the attitude of people like owner-trainer Jean Spence, who plans to entering Real Candy.

If there is a good cause to be found at Hastings, Spence is usually right there helping out. She believes that B.C. Cup is important to racing in British Columbia, and she'll do everything she can to make it successful.

"I don't think Monashee would get beat with 150 pounds on her," said Spence. "But when you get a horse like George Royal or Monashee, people want to see them run. B.C. Cup is our biggest day and we should be able to showcase our best horses."

Spence isn't running a horse that doesn't have credentials. Real Candy won the Grade 3 British Columbia Breeders' Cup Oaks last year. She finished fifth behind Starlite Strike in the race that excluded Monashee, but it was only her second start this year and Spence knew Real Candy was a bit short on conditioning going into the race.

"She really needed the race," Spence said. "We were behind with her and she only had one sprint. She's a lot fitter for the Distaff. We're probably still running for second money though."

Spaghetti Mouse good to go

According to trainer Ned Sams, Spaghetti Mouse is doing well, and if he runs his usual race, he'll be very tough to beat in the Classic. He has lost just once in six starts at 1 1/8 miles, and that was to 2006 Canadian champion older horse True Metropolitan in the Sir Winston Churchill. Spaghetti Mouse beat True Metropolitan by better than four lengths in the Classic last year. He's coming off of a win in the Grade 3 Lieutenant Governors July 1.

"We'll work him five furlongs this weekend, and he should be all set to go," said Sams.

Condilenios weighs his options

Trainer Dino Condilenios could saddle the favorite in both the Sprint (Lord Nelson) and the Dogwood (Napa). But it is also possible that neither will start.

For Lord Nelson, it depends on how he came out of a six-furlong work in 1:13.60 Friday morning. His usual rider, Frank Fuentes, was aboard.

"It was a good work for him, and Frank said he felt fine," said Condilenios. "We've been working on a quarter crack and so far it's okay. If it holds together we're going to run."

Lord Nelson lost by a neck to Notis Otis in the 2006 Sprint. He's had just one start this year, losing by a head to Bound to Be M V P in a sprint June 16. A 10-year-old, Lord Nelson won the Classic in 2001 and 2003. He also finished second in the 2002 and 2004 Classics.

Napa has won the last two stakes races for 3-year-old fillies at Hastings and either her or Suva will be favored in the Dogwood.

"I haven't made up my mind about running Napa or not," said Condilenios. "We don't plan on running her again until the Oaks, and there's a race at Northlands Park the following week that might work out better for her. If she ran in Edmonton it would only be six weeks between races compared to seven."

The $125,000 Grade 3 B.C. Breeders' Cup Oaks is on Sept. 22. The race at Northlands Park that Condilenios was referring to is the $100,000 Sonoma Stakes on Aug. 11.

Affinity One bears watching

It might be worth keeping an eye on Affinity One, who is making his debut in a 3 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race that goes as the first race at Hastings on Sunday.

Affinity One is a half-brother to Suva, last year's local 2-year-old filly champ. Affinity One's trainer, Frank Barroby, said that if Affinity One runs a good race he could bring him back for the B.C. Cup Nursery.

"The race Sunday is too short for him," said Barroby. "But at least it will tell me where we sit with him. He's a pretty nice horse, but he'll have to show me something Sunday.

"If he does, he can come back with a slow five-furlong work before the Nursery."