05/21/2003 11:00PM

Abderian strongest if Cohen is on turf

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With rain in the forecast, Saturday's $75,000 Ben Cohen Stakes, a sprint at Pimlico scheduled for turf, could end up being run on the main track.

Twelve entered the five-furlong race.

If the Ben Cohen remains on the grass, Abderian is the likely favorite. A 6-year-old trained by Ben Feliciano Jr., Abderian had a troubled trip in the Grade 3 Aegon Turf Sprint in his last start, May 2 at Churchill Downs. Abderian finished seventh, but was beaten only 2 1/4 lengths.

Some of Abderian's best races have come on soft ground, and he has a strong record in turf sprints: 7 for 13. On paper, it looks like there is enough speed to aid Abderian's closing kick.

Ryan Fogelsonger rides Abderian, who drew post 4.

Take Achance on Me, a front-runner who drew the rail, should be tough on grass or dirt. Trained by Anthony Aguirre, Take Achance on Me won an optional claimer at five furlongs over Pimlico's turf course on May 3. In March, Take Achance on Me, a son of American Chance, won a 5 1/2-furlong dirt race on a wet track at Laurel Park.

Kaymarie Kreidel rides Take Achance on Me.

Rudirudy, who is owned and trained by Gaston Sandoval and will run as an entry with Sport D'Hiver, also has shown the ability to handle turf and dirt. Rudirudy, an 8-year-old closing in on $500,000 in career earnings, came close to winning two off-the-turf stakes over sloppy tracks at The Meadowlands last year. Rudirudy finished second, beaten a neck, in both the Thomas Edison and William Livingston stakes.

Elbertron, who finished third in last year's Ben Cohen, will be making his first start since November. The 6-year-old Elbertron is suited to the distance and has performed well over the Pimlico turf, but his 0-for-7 record last year suggests he has tailed off.

If the Ben Cohen is moved to the main track, Native Heir and Sassy Hound have superior Beyer Speed Figures on muddy tracks and have competed in graded stakes this year. Native Heir, who is trained by Mark Shuman, won the Grade 3 Deputy Minister at Gulfstream Park in February.