10/03/2005 12:00AM

Pletcher expects more from 'Harbor'


ELMONT, N.Y. - Harbor Master has yet to live up to his regal bloodlines. But trainer Todd Pletcher believes there's reason to expect an improved performance when the 3-year-old son of Seattle Slew faces five rivals in a $46,000 entry-level allowance race that serves as Wednesday's feature at Belmont Park. The race is scheduled for 1 1/16 miles.

, a half-brother to champion Boston Harbor, finished fourth in a two-turn, 1 1/8-mile race at Saratoga on Aug. 21. In that race, he ran an opening half-mile in 46.56 seconds and six furlongs in 1:10.95 before giving way. He ended up 8 1/4 lengths behind the winner, A.P. Arrow.

"He went too fast the other day," Pletcher said. "We decided to put him on the lead that day and see how he did. He's a big, heavy horse; he got very tired in that race.

"I think sometimes horses like that move forward when they get in a situation like that where they have to dig down deep and get a little tired. Based on the way he's trained since then, maybe that's the case with him."

Harbor Master shows five works since that race. John Velazquez rides Harbor Master from post 2. Velazquez was involved in a spill in Sunday's Cowdin and took off his final two mounts that day, complaining of soreness, but he is expected to ride on Wednesday.

The Aug. 21 race produced two next-out allowance winners in Spanish Mission and Cosmonaut. A.P. Arrow finished second in Saturday's Super Derby at Louisiana Downs.

finished third in the Aug. 21 race and is entered here. He tried the turf in his last start, and finished 10th of 11. Trainer Stanley Hough has been winning at a 20 percent rate when moving horses from turf to dirt.

"I wanted to try it and [jockey Ramon] Dominguez thought he would like the grass," Hough said. "I worked him on it and he worked okay on it, but didn't run any good. I think he'll be better on the dirt. He should be tough."

Edgar Prado rides Deputy Indy from post 3.

If Harbor Master does not go to the lead, could be the controlling speed. Both of his wins have come in off-the-turf races and in front-running fashion, including a 14-length score in a $35,000 claiming race here on Sept. 16.

Completing the field are Apprentice, third behind repeat allowance winner Watchmon; Mr. Malaprop, fourth in the Albany at Saratoga; and Monopoly Pricing, a front-running winner of a $50,000 claiming race.