06/12/2002 11:00PM

Sweet Monarch tackles colts in derby

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CALGARY, Alberta - When Sweet Monarch faces 10 colts and geldings here in Saturday's Alberta Derby, she will attempt to become the first filly to win the race since Winmore Miss in 1983.

Sweet Monarch's 7 1/2-length romp in the June 1 Lilac persuaded owners Elliot and Dave Kerr and trainer Dale Greenwood to test the waters in the $100,000 Alberta Derby, a Grade 3 race over 1 1/16 miles. She gets in with 116 pounds, receiving five pounds from her rivals, and breaks from post 2 with leading rider Quincy Welch in the irons.

Intact, the morning-line favorite, won the Hoofprint on My Heart here May 26, and that handicap has produced the last two winners of this race. He drew the rail with regular rider Richard Hamel up.

Sweet Monarch's score in the one-mile Lilac was accomplished in 1:38.80, while Intact's last score was run in workmanlike 1:38.60 for the mile.

Both came from well back in their winning preps and will likely be forced to work their way through traffic in this crowded field.

Lord Shogun, one of two invaders from Hastings Park, drew the outside post and Vancouver-based rider Dave Wilson is expected to send him in search of the early lead. His lone start this year, going 6 1/2 furlongs at Hastings Park May 12, was a front-running win, but his ability to stay the derby distance is a question mark.

West Coast shipper Regal Rebel drew post 9, with Felipe Valdez up. Regal Rebel's maiden victory came at a mile March 16 at Golden Gate, and he returned north to run second in the City of Vancouver Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs before finishing a troubled fourth in his last start.

Go Tommy Joe is a late-runner worthy of consideration. In the Hoofprint, he was taken far back and closed steadily with a three-wide rally to finish fourth. Rickey Walcott replaces Desmond Bryan aboard Go Tommy Joe, who breaks from post 3.

Dark Fuse was forwardly placed throughout in the Hoofprint and held on for place money. He breaks from post 7 under Orlando Martinez and should gain a striking position in a field not blessed with an abundance of early foot.

Exclusive Banker has shown speed on occasion, including a wire-to-wire triumph in the Alberta Premier's Futurity last September. He drew post 10, leaving rider Perry Winters little choice but to send early.

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