04/29/2013 11:46AM

Atlantic City: Perfect Officer looms huge in Tony Gatto Dream Big

Barbara D. Livingston
Perfect Officer made just four starts in 2012, highlighted by a nose victory in the 5 1/2-furlong Shakertown.

Perfect Officer, who came within a head of winning the Grade 3 Shakertown at Keeneland for the second time less than three weeks ago, towers over his nine rivals in Wednesday’s closing-day feature at Atlantic City Race Course, the $50,000 Tony Gatto Dream Big Stakes.

The five-furlong sprint goes as race 6 on a seven-race card that closes out the six-day, all-turf mini-meet at South Jersey’s lone remaining racetrack.

As a 5-year-old making his first start off a $50,000 claim by trainer Tony Dutrow, Perfect Officer got up by a neck in the 2011 running of Atlantic City’s lone stakes. He went on to finish third in that fall’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Perfect Officer made just four starts in 2012, highlighted by a nose victory in the 5 1/2-furlong Shakertown.

Returning from eight months on the sidelines in this year’s Shakertown on April 13, Perfect Officer rallied to become part of a four-horse photo at the finish line, finishing a head behind nose winner Havelock and runner-up Something Extra and a neck in front of fourth-place Canuletmedowneasy.

Kendrick Carmouche will be reunited with Perfect Officer for the first time since he was aboard for three straight races in fall 2011, including runner-up performances in the Grade 3 Turf Monster at Parx Racing and Grade 3 Woodford at Keeneland.

Perfect Officer will pick up six pounds from his last race and will be spotting his opponents between four and six pounds as the 124-pound highweight.

In contrast to Perfect Officer’s extensive experience in Grade 3 stakes, only two of his opponents on Wednesday have even raced at that high of a level.

Super Chunky was fifth in the Grade 3 Turf Monster and seventh in the Grade 1 Nearctic at Woodbine last season. Two years ago, Super Chunky was fourth, beaten 4 1/2 lengths by Perfect Officer, in the Dream Big. He will be launching his 7-year-old campaign and remains winless since September 2011.

Catalactic was fourth of eight, a length in front of Super Chunky, in last fall’s Turf Monster. That was the only blemish in six starts in 2012 for Catalactic, who is based at Mountaineer with trainer J. Michael Baird.

Kens Cape could be a live longshot shipping in from Maryland for trainer King Leatherbury. The last time Kens Cape switched from dirt to turf, he surprised optional $70,000 claimers at 19-1 at Pimlico.