09/03/2009 12:00AM

Tribal Belle set for Seaway


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Tribal Belle's remarkable rise from a lowly maiden claimer to a stakes-caliber runner is one of several intriguing story lines in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Seaway Stakes at Woodbine for fillies and mares.

Tribal Belle won 2 of her 3 starts during the spring. She has been idle since June 24, when she took an $80,000 allowance/optional claimer by 10 lengths and received a Beyer Speed Figure of 99.

Tribal Belle has been ready to roll all summer, but hasn't run because the allowance prep for the Seaway failed to fill. She has worked extensively, in her usual lethargic manner, according to her trainer, Terry Jordan.

"She's doing fantastic, but she's not a work horse," Jordan explained. "That's the only problem. If you don't have another horse to go with her, she won't work at all. She had two works that didn't even register, because she won't work on her own."

Jordan said he even considered giving Tribal Belle away before her debut in the spring of 2008. After losing her rider in her first start, which came against $15,000 maidens, she scored second time out in a six-furlong dash at Hastings.

"We started her off at the bottom, because we didn't think that she could run because she wouldn't work," Jordan recalled. "The first time we ran her, she deposited the jockey on the track, because she's a spooky horse. Then I ran her cheaper, and she won by a length for $8,000. I'm very lucky that nobody put a halter on her."

Jim McAleney will ride Tribal Belle, who won both of her Polytrack starts at the Seaway distance of seven furlongs.

Simply Splendid has quickly evolved into one of the leading older females on the grounds. She won two consecutive allowance sprints in May, and landed her first stakes convincingly July 1 in the seven-furlong Sweet Briar Too.

Trainer Gail Cox said Ginger Brew had everything her own way on the lead in the Belle Mahone, which made it difficult for Simply Splendid to play catch-up.

Smart Surprise, said Cox, "didn't run her race, and Ginger Brew got away with very easy fractions. Ginger Brew is an amazing horse."

Simply Splendid prepared for the Seaway in the 1 1/16-mile Belle Mahone Stakes. She came from third to finish second to Ginger Brew, earning her second straight Beyer Figure in the mid-90s.