08/22/2003 12:00AM

Flank Attack ought to relish added ground


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Trainer Bob Durso believes Flank Attack has a reservoir of untapped potential. A key to unleashing that promise could be more distance, something the colt gets Sunday in the $50,000 Choice Stakes for 3-year-olds at Monmouth Park.

Flank Attack should find the 1 1/8 miles on the turf a perfect complement to his rallying style after running 1 1/16 miles or less in his last seven outings.

His one experience at the Choice distance came in the Grade 3 Tropical Park Derby at Calder in early January when he finished a hard-charging fourth.

"That was an awesome race," Durso said. "He should have been second in the race. A horse bolted out from the eighth pole into him when he was just starting to roll. That really stopped him but he still wound up finishing fourth."

Flank Attack has fashioned a solid campaign, winning almost $50,000. Durso believes the son of End Sweep has only recently come into his own.

"The horse is starting to do better than he has all year long," he said. "He's doing really well."

Earlier in the Monmouth meet, Flank Attack was asked for more early speed and produced decidedly mixed results.

Allowed to revert to his more natural drop-back style, Flank Attack picked up his game. He overcame a 13 3/4-length deficit in an allowance race on Haskell Day, Aug. 3, for his first win of the year.

"He can sit back there and relax," Durso said. "He's not a horse that has to be in a certain spot. He can go between horses, inside or outside."

With more maturity and longer races, Flank Attack could start to fulfill Durso's expectations. "I felt all along this horse would go a mile and eighth, a mile and a quarter, and a mile and a half, if he had to," he said. "He will relax and let you take him back."

Carlos Cruz, who last rode Flank Attack when he won his maiden at The Meadowlands Racetrack last fall, gets the mount.

In contrast to Flank Attack, Prince Benjamin should be a prominent pace factor. The colt won his last two starts, both main-track allowance races at Delaware Park, by impressive margins, 11 1/2 and 5 1/4 lengths. He ran third, showing a mild rally, in his lone turf effort.

Completing the field are Saratoga Clipper, Ballonenostrikes, Tententwotwenty, Dream Believer, Sigint, and the entry of Wesman and In Hand.

Sorority attracts 25 nominations

The Grade 3, $100,000 Sorority attracted 25 nominations; it is the final graded stakes of the meet.

Trainer Todd Pletcher leads the list with six 2-year-old fillies for the six-furlong stakes. Pletcher nominated Ashado, winner of the Grade 2 Schuylerville Stakes at Saratoga, along with Amazer, Capeside Lady, Hermione's Magic, Lokoya, and Marylebone.

* With temperatures soaring into the 90's for a second straight day Friday, Monmouth reduced post parades to five minutes. In the intense heat and humidity, most horses were ready to go with the limited warmup.