11/20/2009 12:00AM

Can Tribal Belle do it again?


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The imposing Tribal Belle will meet Smart Surprise and Glitter Rox at Woodbine Sunday in the $150,000 Bessarabian Stakes, a seven-furlong dash that could help to determine the Sovereign Award winner for champion female sprinter in Canada.

Tribal Belle is unbeaten in four Polytrack starts at the meet. She landed her first stakes after setting slow fractions over seven furlongs in the Grade 3 Seaway on Sept. 5. Most recently, Tribal Belle set a rapid pace in the six-furlong Ontario Damsel Stakes before coasting home on top by three lengths, earning a career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure.

Trainer Terry Jordan said Tribal Belle has trained encouragingly since the Ontario Damsel, and he doesn't anticipate a bounce from her on Sunday.

"I expect her to run good," said Jordan. "The cooler weather makes her feel better. She's pretty easy on herself. She doesn't overdo it in the mornings. She gives it to you in the afternoons.

"I wish the race was six and a half furlongs instead of seven, but we have to deal with what we've got. She looks and acts like a horse who will go long, but she definitely likes to go short."

Jordan said Tribal Belle has raced only five times this year due to a lack of opportunities.

"We entered her five or six times more than she ran, but the races just didn't fill," Jordan said. "Some of those [stakes] prep races aren't easy to fill. They give away $100,000 in those races, and nobody wants to go in. I don't get it."

Smart Surprise, last year's Bessarabian winner, has been idle since her flat third-place finish as the favorite Aug. 15 in the Belle Mahone Stakes. She has won four stakes this year, including the Grade 3 Hendrie going 6 1/2 furlongs in May.

The stretch-runner Glitter Rox captured the Grade 3 Royal North Stakes on the grass following an eight-month layoff Aug. 1. She's coming off three straight runner-up finishes, most recently in the Ontario Fashion.

Trainer Ian Black said Glitter Rox has come back better than ever this year after being sidelined by a cracked splint bone.

"She's had a very good year," said Black. "She's been very consistent. She got pretty light towards the end of last year, but she's held her flesh better this year."