03/09/2011 1:14PM

Belle Watling auditons for Rampart in Gulfstream's feature

Jim Lisa
Amazing (right), here winning the 2008 Elmer Heubeck Distaff, may be the main speed in Friday's feature at Gulfstream.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Chilean sensation Belle Watling disappointed her followers in her U.S. debut here last month in the Grade 3 The Very One. As a result, trainer Patrick Biancone has tweaked a few things for her second start by changing the surface, distance, rider, and most important the level of competition for Belle Watling when she attempts to rebound in Friday’s feature, an optional $100,000 claimer for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park.

Belle Watling, a winner of 12 of her 16 starts in her native Chile, including five Group 1 stakes, finished fourth after setting a snail-like pace under jockey Edgar Prado going 11 furlongs on the grass in The Very One. On Friday, Belle Watling will move to the main track and shorten up to 1 1/8 miles while facing high-priced optional claiming and allowance company with Julien Leparoux to handle the assignment.

“She needed to get back in gear the first time and was not really tuned up,” said Biancone. “We decided to start her out on turf because it was a bit more distance but it became a non-event since they went so slow. It was like a three-furlong race and really not what we were looking for.”

Belle Watling walked through a 53-second opening half and 1:20 six-furlong split while cruising on an easy lead but had little left leaving the eighth pole, tiring to finish nearly four lengths behind race winner Keertana.

“The jock gave her a nice, easy ride so she didn’t have a hard race,” said Biancone. “The distance should be no problem, a mile and one eighth to a mile and one quarter may be best for her. And we bought her to run on the dirt so we’re hoping this race will move her a step forward for our first major goal, which is the Rampart.”

The Grade 3 Rampart will be run on April 2.

Belle Watling may have to catch Amazing to earn her first North American victory. Amazing is coming off a game, second-place finish behind Evening Jewel in the Sunshine Millions Distaff, in which she forced the pace throughout before dropping a tough half-length decision to the two- time Grade 1 winner.

Joanie’s Catch, who ran down Amazing to register a neck victory in Calder’s Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap on Nov. 13, has already started three times here this winter, most recently in the Grade 3 Sabin, in which she finished a tiring and well-beaten sixth behind Awesome Maria.

Musical Romance, third in the Heubeck in her 3-year-old finale, Tesoro de Amor, Successful Song, Omega Cat, and Choice Play complete the lineup.