10/07/2008 12:00AM

Belle's Home shortens up for Weaver

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Shortening up in distance and returning to a course over which she has been successful could give Belle's Home a slight edge in Thursday's wildly competitive $55,000 first-level allowance feature at Belmont Park.

The seven-furlong race on the outer turf drew 13 entries for the grass, and two more should the race be transferred to the main track. Twelve can run. Rain is not in the forecast, which is why the racing office probably felt comfortable carding five turf races on the nine-race card.

Belle's Home, a daughter of Came Home trained by George Weaver, won a 1 1/16-mile maiden race over Belmont's outer turf course on July 2. She went to Saratoga, where she ran twice in an 18-day period, finishing second to Nehantic Cat and third to Kapanga, whom she had defeated in the maiden race.

The two races at Saratoga were at 1 3/16 miles, which may have been just a touch too far for Belle's Home. In the second of those races, Aug. 24, a headstrong Belle's Home set the early fractions, repelled one challenge at the top of the stretch, but couldn't fend off Kapanga and Sentimental Union. Weaver hopes shortening up will allow Belle's Home to use the stalking tactics that led to her lone victory.

"I feel like it might be advantageous going seven-eighths," Weaver said. "We will be looking to lay off the pace. She seems handy enough. I would be looking forward to cutting her back."

Weaver likes the fact that Belle's Home has had 46 days between races. He said Belle's Home ran twice in 18 days only because the pot for each of those races was $84,000. Weaver added that he hopes the turf course is firm come Thursday. Belle's Home breaks from post 3 under Javier Castellano.

There appears to be ample speed in the field with It's Not for Love, Bette to Win, and According to Plan entered. Bette to Win, who makes her turf debut, beat four horses in a starter allowance at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 9. Two of the horses she beat came back to win.

Tourism, trained by Shug McGaughey, finished a half-length behind Belle's Home in the Aug. 24 race. Two starts before that, Tourism won a one-mile maiden race at Belmont.

Dressmaker, a daughter of Elusive Quality, makes her 4-year-old and U.S debut for new trainer Chad Brown. She shows a series of stamina-building works at Monmouth Park and gets Jose Lezcano for the first time.