10/14/2009 11:00PM

More modest goal for Perfect Officer


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Trainer George Weaver and RA Hill Stable took a Breeders' Cup swing with Perfect Officer, sending the 3-year-old gelding to Santa Anita for the Grade 3 Morvich Handicap last month.

The Morvich was a Win and You're In stakes, guaranteeing the winner a spot in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. The gamble didn't pay off as Perfect Officer finished ninth.

With the Breeders' Cup now out of the picture, Perfect Officer looks to regroup Friday night in the Thomas Edison Stakes at the Meadowlands.

The two $60,000 supporting stakes on the Meadowlands Cup undercard are opposite ends of the turf spectrum: the Princeton for 3-year-olds is at 1 3/8 miles while the Thomas Edison is a five-furlong sprint.

The cutback from the 6 1/2 furlongs in the Morvich should help Perfect Officer, 3 for 5 at grass distances up to 5 1/2 furlongs.

"We were a little bit disappointed at Santa Anita," Weaver said. "We feel we have a very nice turf sprinter and we needed to know if we needed to go to the Breeders' Cup. We weren't beaten that far, but we didn't make an impact on the race."

If nothing else, the race answered the Breeders' Cup question.

"That made the decision for us," Weaver said. "We really didn't need to try the Breeders' Cup off that."

Perfect Officer shows no sign of jet lag from the trip out and back to California for the Morvich on Sept. 30.

"It went pretty smoothly," Weaver said. "Sometimes horses will lie to you, but he's training better now than a month ago."

Perfect Officer faces eight rivals, including the usually tough Awakino Cat. A 4-year-old gelding trained by Linda Rice, Awakino Cat won a pair of overnight grass sprint stakes at Saratoga before finishing eighth most recently in the Turf Monster Handicap at Philadelphia Park.

McLaughlin takes two shots

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has his pace bases covered in the Princeton with the uncoupled duo to Florentino and Street Move.

Florentino is effective on the lead, employing those tactics to win the Grade 2 Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs in June. Last time out, Florentino was a tiring seventh in the Lure Stakes, run over a soft course at Saratoga.

"He didn't run well in a tough race on soft turf," McLaughlin said. "He didn't handle it well."

Street Move is a closer coming off back-to-back wins, including on opening weekend of the meet Oct 2.

"It's a little quick back for him, but it's getting late in the year and straight 3-year-old stakes don't come up that much," McLaughlin said. "With Florentino on or near the lead, it could set it up for a closer. We thought they might complement each other."

Laureate Conductor will look to rebound from a fifth-place finish as the 3-5 favorite in the Grade 3 Kent Stakes at Delaware Park. Prior to that, he was a rallying third in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park for trainer Christophe Clement.