05/19/2004 11:00PM

Three in Ben Cohen exit Atlantic City prep

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Casino gamblers and Miss America contestants aren't the only ones who visit Atlantic City. Three of the contenders in Saturday's $50,000 Ben Cohen Stakes prepped for the five-furlong turf sprint at Pimlico by running at seldom-used Atlantic City Race Course.

Quest of Fate, Tricky Storm, and Ghostly Numbers were separated by less than two lengths when they finished one-two-three in a five-furlong grass race contested under allowance conditions on May 12.

The 6-year-old Quest of Fate, part of a three-horse uncoupled entry from trainer Ben Feliciano's barn, is a highly accomplished turf-sprint specialist. He is 6 for 10 lifetime - and 4 for 4 at Pimlico - in grass races at five or 5 1/2 furlongs. Quest of Fate, who drew post 14 in a full field for the Cohen, came from off the pace at Atlantic City to win going away while making his first start since October.

Tricky Storm is one of three coupled horses for owner Michael Gill. A winner of 5 of 11 starts in turf sprints, the 5-year-old Tricky Storm set the pace at Atlantic City before giving way, and was beaten just a length.

Ghostly Numbers could be due for a peak effort in the third start of his form cycle. He has been third in both his starts this year, finishing 1 1/2 lengths behind Quest of Fate last time out.

Take Achance on Me, the track's morning-line favorite at 3-1, faces much softer competition after running against graded stakes horses in two of his last three starts. Most recently, he was fifth in the Grade 3 Aegon Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs.

"The last time he got bumped at the start and I had to check him, and we still only got beat less than four lengths versus Grade 3 company," said Jozbin Santana, Take Achance on Me's regular rider. "Going five furlongs, everybody is going to be gunning and there is a lot of speed, so it should set up perfectly for him."

Take Achance on Me was second two starts ago in a stakes race at Gulfstream in which he finished ahead of Ghostly Numbers.

Governor's Pride is 3 for 7 lifetime on turf, but hasn't raced on grass since August 2002. Governor's Pride went dirt to turf to win a minor stakes at Delaware Park in 2002, and he finished second in a grass stakes at The Meadowlands in 2001.

The 9-year-old Rudirudy, who came close to winning two sprint stakes in three days in 2001 when he won at Monmouth and finished second at Delaware, is usually competitive but has won just one of 20 starts the past two years.