04/12/2012 2:45PM

Keeneland: Plenty of contenders in Shakertown Stakes

Tom Keyser
Perfect Officer will make his first start since the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint in the Grade 3, $100,000 Shakertown.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – High-class turf sprints tend to be among a horseplayer’s favorite, and one only need to look at a race like the Shakertown Stakes to see why.

Viable options are plentiful among the 10 older horses entered in the Grade 3, $100,000 Shakertown, which occupies a key slot on the Saturday card at Keeneland as the 10th of 12 races and the lead-in race to the Blue Grass Stakes. Chamberlain Bridge, a divisional stalwart and an earner of more than $1.7 million, was assigned post 9 in the 5 1/2-furlong race, but he is only one among a handful of contenders in what shapes up as a real beauty.

Havelock and Perfect Officer, the respective one-two finishers in an exciting renewal of the Grade 3 Woodford Stakes here in October, have made their way back to Keeneland after competing in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in November. They are joined in this 16th running of the Shakertown by such capable veterans as Concorde’s Flight, Great Attack, Zeb, and Great Mills.

[MORE: Get PPs and wager on Saturday's Keeneland card]

Perfect Officer, off since finishing third in the BC Turf Sprint, resurfaces with a new trainer, Tony Dutrow, following a series of sharp works over the turf course at the Palm Meadows training center in south Florida. With Javier Castellano to ride from post 1, the 6-year-old gelding has been pegged as the most tepid of morning-line favorites at 7-2.

Easily the wild card of the group is a 4-year-old Irish-bred named Surfrider, who will get first-time Lasix and will break from post 8 with Ramon Dominguez aboard. The colt won 2 of 7 starts in France before being shipped in January to Eddie Kenneally in Florida, where he has trained forwardly in recent weeks in preparation for his stateside debut.

“He’s trained really well on the grass and he’s a proven graded stakes horse,” Kenneally said. “I think he should take a liking to American racing.”

Chamberlain Bridge, winner of the 2010 BC Turf Sprint, is the class of the field, as usual, although he has won just one of his last eight starts and is a career 1 for 5 over the Keeneland turf.