08/27/2003 11:00PM

Don't look for Whirlwind Charlott early

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OCEANPORT, N.J. - An extra sixteenth of a mile and a valuable schooling lesson could move Whirlwind Charlott to the head of the class Saturday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Sorority Stakes at Monmouth Park.

The Sorority, for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs, closes out the graded stakes schedule at Monmouth.

Trainer John Dowd used the Colleen Stakes as an instructional tool to familiarize Whirlwind Charlott with the art of dropping back and making one late move. She proved a willing pupil.

Whirlwind Charlott got away 10th in the 5 1/2-furlong Colleen, Monmouth's traditional Sorority prep. She responded when urged by jockey Julian Pimentel, finishing with a rush for third.

"We took her back in her last to see how she'd close, and she ran a great race," Dowd said. "She's training well up to this race, and the extra half-furlong should certainly help."

The Sorority will be the fourth start for Whirlwind Charlott, a daughter of Real Quiet. She made her first two starts at Philadelphia Park, running poorly in the slop in her debut as an odds-on favorite but rebounding to win her next outing.

"I throw out her first race in the slop," Dowd said. "She didn't break well and was rushed up and didn't seem to like the slop in her face. She came back to break her maiden pretty nicely."

Next came the Colleen and the change in tactics to a drop-back closer.

"We tried something new in the Colleen, and she seemed to like it," Dowd said. "So that's her new style."

Whirlwind Charlott could benefit from a lively early pace as most of the eight runners prefer to race on or very close to the lead.

Fashion Girl should be in the mix right from the start. She sat a stalking trip in the Colleen and finished second, beaten only a neck by Standswithafist.

The order of finish was reversed by the stewards for stretch interference as Standswithafist drifted out and brushed Fashion Girl.

The victory was the second straight for Fashion Girl, who will attempt to give trainer D. Wayne Lukas his third Sorority winner. Lukas won with Tiltalating in 1984 and Blue Jean Baby in 1987.

Feline Story also owns a stakes victory, having won the Astoria Stakes at Belmont Park. She most recently finished fourth in the Grade 2 Schuylerville Stakes at Saratoga for trainer Stanley Hough.

Completing the field are Capeside Lady, Foolishly, Private Gayla, Stand on Top, and Standswithafist.