04/24/2008 11:00PM

True Metropolitan: Better at 6?


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - True Metropolitan is slated to make his 2008 debut in the $50,000 George Royal Stakes at Hastings next Sunday. Trained by Terry Jordan, True Metropolitan won 7 of 10 starts last year and for the second straight year won a Sovereign Award for being the best handicap horse in Canada.

True Metropolitan began last season in the George Royal before shipping to Woodbine, where he won 2 races from 4 starts, including the Grade 3 Dominion Day Handicap. He returned to western Canada, where he dominated the horses in Alberta, winning the Westerner and the Speed to Spare at Northlands. He cruised to an easy victory in the Sir Winston Churchill at Hastings and then was unfortunate to finish second in the Premiers behind Sir Gallovic. True Metropolitan closed out the year with a win in the Autumn Stakes at Woodbine, where he earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 102.

Jordan is looking at a similar schedule for True Metropolitan this year, and if the horse has any success at all, he will go over the $1 million mark in earnings. His total earnings going into the George Royal are $918,295. The scary thing is that he looks better than ever, and considering that he closed out 2007 with the best performance of his career, it's possible he could be peaking as a 6-year-old.

"We'll get him started in the George Royal, and if all goes well he'll head to Woodbine for a few races there," said Jordan. "He couldn't be training any better. And just look at him. He's all dappled out and he's pretty eager to get going. It's pretty amazing that he's still going as well as he is."

Owner Bob Cheema deserves some credit for how well True Metropolitan is doing at this stage in his career. He always insists that True Metropolitan takes the winter off.

"They need to take a break," said Cheema. "I know he was going great at the end of last year, but you just can't run them too many times. I'm looking forward to seeing him get back in action."

True Metropolitan is obviously a much better horse going a middle distance, but he proved he can sprint with a win in the George Royal last year. He figures to be a short price next Sunday.

"Obviously the George Royal is just a place to get started," said Jordan. "But he's ready to go, and he's going to be tough to beat."

Jordan was pleased with True Metropolitan's bullet half-mile move in 46.40 seconds Friday morning.

Dancing Allstar to go in Mount Royal

Mario Gutierrez will be aboard True Metropolitan for the first time in the George Royal. Quincy Welch has been True Metropolitan's rider in most of his races western Canada, but Welch is going to stay in Alberta to ride a couple of Jordan's other stars. Most notable among them is Dancing Allstar, who won the Sovereign Award as the top 2-year-old filly in Canada last year.

Jordan was hoping to start Dancing Allstar in an allowance race at Hastings opening day, but the race didn't fill. Instead she will make her 3-year-old debut in the $50,000 Mount Royal next Sunday.

"It would have been nice to keep her here," said Jordan, noting that his plan had been to run the filly on opening day and then bring her back for the Emerald Downs at Hastings on May 17. But, he added, "I don't know if I want to bring her back in two weeks that quickly, so we'll see how she comes out of the Mt. Royal before deciding where she'll run next."

Dancing Allstar could have her hands full in the Mount Royal. Also expected to run is Littlemiss Allison, who is undefeated and is coming off of a win in the Houston Oaks on March 8.

"All I know is that my filly is ready to run, and I haven't seen too many that can keep up with her sprinting," said Jordan.

Jordan is also sending Star Prospector to Stampede for the $50,000 President's Handicap Saturday.

Star Prospector won four races, including three stakes at Hastings, as a juvenile last year. The President's will be his first start since he finished third in the $110,000 Ascot Graduation last October.

New era without Monashee

The filly and mare division will take on a different look with Monashee out of the picture. Monashee dominated the local scene for the past two years, and she closed out her career with a win in the Paseana Handicap at Santa Anita Jan. 14.

According to her trainer, Tracy McCarthy, Monashee is in foal to Hard Spun.

"It took her a while to wind down," said McCarthy. "But she finally settled down and she caught the first time she was covered. Obviously we miss her, and it's just not the same coming to the track every day without seeing her in her stall."

Monashee retired with $760,490 in earnings. She won 18 races, including the Grade 3 Ballerina twice. She had an incredible streak where she won 11 stakes races in a row in western Canada.