By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: The legend of Monashee will forever live in the archives of horse racing in British Columbia. From a $14,000 purchase by Ole Nielsen at Keeneland in 2003 to a stunning career that ended with Hall of Fame status, Monashee generated $760,490 in earnings that included a winning streak of 11 consecutive stakes races that left Nielsen in absolute awe.
“There is nothing in our long involvement in horse racing that gave me and my family more joy than watching Monashee run,” says Nielsen, the widely respected owner, breeder and TOBA executive. “When she started putting all those stakes wins together I became a nervous wreck every time she ran.”
The relationship never started out that way. Monashee didn’t show much promise in three starts as a 2-year-old but some tireless efforts by trainer Tracy McCarthy culminated with Monashee capturing the BC Oaks and Ballerina the following year.
She won the Ballerina again in 2007 as part of her remarkable stakes streak that resulted later that year in being named BC Horse of the Year at the annual Thoroughbred Awards ceremonies.
“She was the best horse I ever owned,” Nielsen went on record to say at the time. Under the banner of his Canmor Farms, Nielsen himself was inducted into the BC Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2005. Monashee’s Hall of Fame induction came in 2012.
Today’s running of the $50,000 Monashee for 3-year-olds & up for fillies and mares includes last year’s winner Victress with the owner/trainer connection of Rob Gilker and jockey Amadeo Perez gunning for a repeat performance.
When Nielsen was asked for his own repeat performance as Guest Decorator, his immediate response was a quick: “Happy to do so.”
The love affair with his memorable purchase at that 2003 September Yearling Sale at Keeneland remains as strong as ever.