11/05/2002 12:00AM

Officer to stand at Gainesway

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Champagne Stakes winner Officer has been retired to stand at Gainesway Farm. The Grade 1 winner will stand as the property of Gainesway and Dennis Narlinger, who purchased the colt privately from the Thoroughbred Corp. of the late Ahmed Salman. The stud fee for Officer will be $12,500 live foal, payable Nov. 1.

Salman raced Officer at 2 and 3, and the colt won 6 of 9 starts. Officer won his first five starts by a combined 26 1/4 lengths. He capped his streak with victories in the Del Mar Futurity and the Grade 1 Champagne, going 1 1/16 miles at Belmont.

Michael Hernon, director of sales at Gainesway, said, "After taking the Del Mar Futurity, Officer won the Champagne under a hand ride, but the multiple transcontinental journeys might have caught up with him after that." Officer lost his next three starts, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at odds-on.

Despite his successes at 2, Officer made only one start this year at 3. It came in the Zany Tactics at Santa Anita in April and he won by six lengths in 1:15.71 for 6 1/2 furlongs.

"Officer showed his speed from the start, and he carried it to success past a mile in Grade 1 company," Hernon said.

Officer's sire, Bertrando, also carried his speed a distance, winning the Norfolk at 2, the San Felipe at 3, and the Woodward and the Pacific Classic at 4, when he won the Eclipse as champion older horse. Retired to River Edge Farm in California, Bertrando has become a leading sire. Officer is in the male line of In Reality, the most prominent line tracing back to Man o' War, and is an outcross for many leading sire lines.

In addition to having performance and pedigree, Officer is a good-looking animal. Officer was sold to Becky Thomas for $175,000 at the Del Mar select yearling sale. She pinhooked him for $700,000 as a 2-year-old in training at the Barretts March select sale, where he was bought by Richard Mulhall acting for The Thoroughbred Corp.

Officer "was traded by two of the best judges of physique in the game," Hernon said. "That indicates the quality of conformation that this horse possesses," Hernon said.

The owners are limiting Officer's book to 115 mares in 2003. Hernon said that this will "make it relatively easy to schedule mares for breeding and will put a ceiling on the number of his offspring in the marketplace. The horse will have adequate representation, but breeders will not have to worry about an oversupply of yearlings by him."

Officer has arrived at Gainesway.