06/30/2010 12:00AM

Only five test Tribal Belle

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Tribal Belle, winner of last year's inaugural Sovereign Award in the filly and mare sprinter category, will be looking to progress toward a repeat in that division in Thursday's seven-furlong Sweet Briar Too Stakes at Woodbine.

The $100,000 Sweet Briar Too is an overnight stakes for fillies and mares that required at least five entrants to be carded, and trainer Terry Jordan did not nominate Tribal Belle for fear that her presence could discourage opposition.

"I was worried about it not going," acknowledged Jordan, who trains the homebred 5-year-old Tribal Belle for the Canvasback Farm of Mark Wilshire.

The Sweet Briar Too barely made the cut, with six horses, and Tribal Belle, who was supplemented to the race, is strictly the one to beat.

Winner of the seven-furlong Seaway, six-furlong Ontario Fashion, and seven-furlong Bessarabian to close out her championship campaign, Tribal Belle wintered in Florida with assistant trainer Anita Bolton.

Returning to action here April 18, Tribal Belle was beaten a nose by the winter-raced Proud Heiress in the six-furlong Whimsical but then was back on target with a 1 1/4-length score in the 6 1/2-furlong Hendrie four weeks later.

Tribal Belle has worked twice since the Hendrie, including a five-furlong breeze of 59.60 seconds here June 22 in which she was accompanied by stablemate I'mtrulyinthemood.

"She had one of her good days," said Jordan, who often has talked about Tribal Belle's reluctant morning tendencies. "She worked better than we expected."

Jim McAleney will take his usual seat aboard Tribal Belle, who will have to overcome post 1 and co-high weight of 124 pounds.

Carem Crecent, a homebred who won the seven-furlong Duchess and seven-furlong Jammed Lovely for Melnyk Racing Stable and trainer Malcolm Pierce last year, looms as the one to fear most. Returning from a six-month layoff for the Hendrie, Carem Crescent performed encouragingly when beaten 5 3/4 lengths as the third-place finisher.

"She's been super in her last two breezes," said Pierce, who has worked Carem Crescent four times since the Hendrie, with her latest a pair of bullet four-furlong works under regular rider Eurico Rosa da Silva. "I've been impressed with the way she's trained. She couldn't be doing any better."

Carem Crescent will begin from the outside under 122 pounds.

Rag and Bone, the other co-highweight, was a winner at the Sweet Briar Too distance while competing under second-level allowance terms in her seasonal bow here June 12.

Waccamaw, a shipper trained by Robert Gorham, comes off a second-level allowance victory over six furlongs on Presque Isle's synthetic surface.