01/31/2007 1:00AM

Durso, trainer of Frisk Me Now, dies


Trainer Robert Durso, who raced the multiple graded stakes winner Frisk Me Now, died at his home in Hallandale, Fla., on Wednesday following a short illness, according to published reports. He was 68.

Durso, a mainstay on the New Jersey circuit, began his career in 1956 ponying horses at Monmouth Park and took out his trainer's license two years later. He saddled his first stakes winner, Kettle River, in 1971.

Frisk Me Now, who ran in the name of Durso's wife, Carol Dender, burst onto the scene as a 3-year-old in 1997 after upsetting the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes at odds of 105-1. He went on to win four Grade 2 stakes - the Suburban, Gulfstream Park BC Sprint, Ohio Derby, and Philip Iselin Handicap - and earn more than $1.7 million.

A year ago, Durso turned over the day-to-day operation of his stable to longtime assistant Luis Carvajal.

Funeral arrangements were pending.