12/06/2003 1:00AM

Political Attack pulls away

Jean Raftery/Turfotos
Political Attack draws clear of Millennium Dragon to take the $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap at Calder.

MIAMI - Political Attack proved once and for all that he can get a mile and an eighth by posting a 1 1/2-length victory over Millennium Dragon and 10 other grass specialists in Saturday's $100,000 at Calder.

Political Attack, a 4-year-old son of Hawk Attack, had never won beyond 1 1/16 miles. In his only previous try at 1 1/8 miles, Political Attack finished an even fifth in the Grade 2 Belmont Park Breeders' Cup Handicap on Sept. 13.

Ridden for the first time by Rene Douglas, Political Attack was well placed through the early stages of the Tropical Turf, racing about seven lengths off the blistering early pace of Last Stand. He commenced his rally leaving the backstretch to engage Millennium Dragon for the lead on the second turn, then maintained a short advantage over that rival through much of the stretch before gradually edging clear at the end.

Millennium Dragon moved to a short lead in company with Political Attack on the second bend and held gamely once headed in early stretch. Millennium Dragon outlasted Sforza by a nose for second.

Del Mar Show, the tepid 5-2 favorite, dropped further off the pace than usual and finished strongest of all to be fourth.

Political Attack is trained by Michael Matz for Erdenheim Farm. The victory was his third in seven tries this season. He also captured the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Handicap at Gulfstream Park in March and Delaware's Sussex Handicap on Oct. 18 in his last start. Both of those races were at 1 1/16 miles on grass.

Political Attack ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:45.81 seconds over a firm course and returned $15.60.

"This is about as far as he probably wants to go," said Matz. "He's had some excuses in a couple of his races, particularly the Maker's Mark [at Keeneland], when he went to his knees at the start. Soon after, he grabbed a quarter real bad and we missed some time."

Matz said Political Attack would not be considered for the 1 1/2-mile W.L. McKnight Handicap here Dec. 27 and would make his next start at Gulfstream Park.