06/01/2001 12:00AM

Sprinting is what 'Century' does best


OCEANPORT, N.J. - The Todd Pletcher-trained American Century was thought of as a possible Kentucky Derby horse last year at 2, but he showed distance limitations. In Sunday's $50,000 Crank It Up Stakes for 3-year-olds at five furlongs, American Century stays with what he does best - sprinting - and tries turf for the first time.

"He's a nice kind of sprinter," said George Weaver, Pletcher's assistant at Monmouth. "This is a logical race. It's a chance to try him on the turf, and if it's taken off we know he can handle the dirt."

American Century's most recent win came in the $50,000 Bahamas at Hialeah in April. He will be ridden by Eibar Coa.

Trainer Alan Goldberg sends out Rock, one of the few Crank It Up entrants with experience sprinting on turf. Rock is 2 for 2 since being transferred to Goldberg's barn from the Elliott Walden stable. Both his wins came sprinting on the turf.

Monster in the making

Navesink, a 3-year-old trained by Goldberg, showed signs of being a potential turf monster Friday, breaking the 1 1/16-mile turf course record in an allowance race. He ran the distance in 1:42.03 under jockey Ramon Dominguez.

Navesink is 3 for 3 in his career, including wins at Laurel and Belmont. Navesink's next start will be in the Grade 3 $100,000 Hill Prince for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles at Belmont June 16.

I'm Sentimental eyes Longfellow

The Timothy Hills-trained 4-year-old I'm Sentimental won an allowance in impressive fashion Thursday. I'm Sentimental will run next in the $75,000 Longfellow Stakes at six furlongs on June 23.

I'm Sentimental is lightly raced, with 5 wins in 7 career starts, and is rounding into form for the summer meet. His most impressive win came April 7 at Hialeah, when he posted a 105 Beyer Figure to win the Hialeah Sprint Championship over accomplished sprinter Forty One Carats.

Paulus gives the shore a try

Trainer David Paulus, who is new to Monmouth, has a promising group of 2-year-olds he thinks will make waves at the meet. Paulus, 40, has been stabled in Kentucky since he started training in 1981. Because of the increased purses this meet, Paulus decided to bring 15 of his better horses here.

The prized 2-year-old in the barn is Majani, a son of Holy Bull owned by William Shively, who also owns the Paulus-trained top sprinter Personal First. Majani was purchased for $305,000 in the winter, and trained at Keeneland before being sent here.

"We have high hopes for him," Paulus said. "We're hoping it's our next Derby hopeful."

o Rize, winner of the Grade 2 Iselin here last year, makes his first start of the meet in Sunday's eighth race, a $50,000 money allowance for 3-year-olds and up. The 5-year-old Rize was second in his last start, the Grade 3 Schaefer Handicap at Pimlico on Preakness Day.