12/18/2004 12:00AM

Ready to stretch out

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Benoit & Associates
Belleski, winning the Grade 3 Ken Maddy, has gone 1 1/16 miles just once in her career, in 2003.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Once considered most effective as a turf sprinter, has been slowly shaking that reputation over the last five months.

During her current three-race winning streak, she has won two allowance races over a mile and defended her title in the Grade 3 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap over about 6 1/2 furlongs on Santa Anita's hillside turf course in October.

Monday at Hollywood Park, Belleski will attempt to win the longest race of her career, in the $150,000 Dahlia Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf. In her only previous attempt at the distance, she finished second in the restricted Osunitas Handicap at Del Mar in 2003, losing by a half-length.

"The only time she tried the distance, she ran very well," said trainer John Sadler. "She's run a mile very well. I don't think it's a quantum leap. The difference this year is she's more rateable. I think that will help her get the extra sixteenth of a mile."

The Grade 2 Dahlia Handicap is the feature race on the final day of the Hollywood Park fall meeting. Santa Anita opens its winter-spring meeting on Sunday.

The Dahlia has drawn a field of 10, including 2004 stakes winners Janeian, Katdogawn, Midwife, and Penny's Fortune.

and Janeian are capable of wins.

Janeian, trained at Fair Grounds by Bret Calhoun, won the Royal Heroine Stakes here in early July. Katdogawn is the defending champion in the Dahlia Handicap, but has struggled this year. In nine starts, her lone victory came through disqualification in the Grade 2 Santa Ana Handicap in March. Katdogawn, beaten a length, was promoted to first after Megahertz was disqualified for causing interference in the stretch.

Since then, Katdogawn is winless in seven starts, including a third in the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 2 and an 11th in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30.

"The Breeders' Cup was a disaster," trainer Jim Cassidy said. "She hated that ground. She was trying to lug in the final quarter-mile."

The Filly and Mare Turf was over 1 3/8 miles. Katdogawn has been more effective in races at a mile or 1 1/16 miles.

"There has been a few times she was unlucky," Cassidy said.

Janeian is winless in three starts since the Royal Heroine. In her last start, she finished fourth as the even-money favorite in the Bluebonnet Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Lone Star Park on Oct. 31.