08/22/2007 11:00PM

Weight is Monashee's main foe

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EDMONTON, Alberta - Monashee seeks her ninth consecutive stakes victory in Saturday's $100,000 City of Edmonton Distaff, and concedes from eight to 14 pounds to her five rivals as the 128-pound highweight.

The City of Edmonton, a 1 1/16-mile handicap for fillies and mares, is the supporting feature on Canadian Derby Day here at Northlands Park.

Weight was one of the considerations cited by her connections prior to leaving their home base of Hastings, and Monashee easily handled her 124-pound impost under the allowance conditions of the Madamoiselle in her first local start on Aug. 10. Despite being pinned in along the rail through most of the 1o1/16-mile Madamoiselle, rider Dave Wilson was patient with Monashee and finally found the running room she needed entering the final turn. Monashee's quick acceleration carried her to a four-length victory over She's Italian as she cruised home in 1:44 under a hand ride.

Despite picking up four pounds, Monashee will be the shortest-priced favorite on a fine 10-race program.

The purse of the Distaff was increased this year with a view to attracting a top field, but Monashee's dominance undoubtedly scared off many rivals.

She's Italian is back for a rematch and drops four pounds after sharing the 124-pound highweight impost in the Madamoiselle. An eight-pound swing in the weights is significant, but whether it will be enough to sway things in favor of She's Italian is debatable.

Rider Jake Barton had She's Italian in a perfect striking position last time, but she was no match for Monashee in the final quarter of a mile.

Monashee drew post 2 on Saturday with She's Italian breaking just to her outside.

Assiniboia Downs invader Culpeper Moon, who is assigned 117 pounds, may fill the role of pacesetter.

Veteran rider Alan Cuthbertson accompanies the 6-year-old Culpeper Moon from her Winnipeg base following her front-running tally in the 1 1/16-mile Winnipeg Sun on Aug. 5. Her outside draw may force Cuthbertson's hand early to avoid being hung wide in the run to the first turn.

Rounding out the field are Dixietwostepper, who was third in the Madamoiselle, the late closer Selita's Dream, and longshot Tight Circle.