04/14/2012 6:32PM

Keeneland: Perfect Officer runs course-record time in Shakertown


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Breaking from post 1 and closing up the inside on the turn under jockey Javier Castellano, Perfect Officer was able to save vital ground in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Shakertown Stakes at Keeneland, and used it to catch longtime leader Great Mills in the final stride.

Great Mills, who led from the break, lost a heartbreaker by a nose, leading most every step, but not the most important one at the wire. A hot early pace of 21.76 seconds in the 5 1/2-furlong Shakertown appeared to take a toll on him late, and he weakened in the closing strides.

It took a course-record-setting performance from Perfect Officer to beat him. In winning the Shakertown, the winner ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:01.53, lowering the prior course record of 1:01.67, set by Sgt. Bert in October of 2006.

"I could see the horse backing up a little bit," said Castellano of front-running Great Mills. "I had plenty of horse, and when I asked him, he responded."

The winner, a 6-year-old gelded son of Officer, scored his third stakes victory from eight races since being claimed by owner David Ross for $50,000 in March of 2011. The Shakertown marked his first start of the year.

Perfect Officer was trained to victory Saturday by trainer Tony Dutrow, after being campaigned by Michael Pino in 2011 after being claimed by Ross. He paid $8.60.

Zeb ran third, three lengths behind the top pair, and was followed by favored Havelock in fourth. Surfrider, who blew the start, rallied to be fifth.