11/04/2004 12:00AM

Perfect Moon makes turf bow in Bien Bien

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Perfect Moon, with Corey Nakatani up, wins the El Cajon on the main track at Del Mar in September. He'll try turf in Saturday's Bien Bien Stakes.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Perfect Moon's erratic form this year has led trainer Doug O'Neill to look for a soft spot for the gelding, and it looks like he has found one in the restricted $60,000 Bien Bien Stakes at Hollywood Park on Saturday.

The race serves as Perfect Moon's turf debut and a chance for his fourth stakes win.

"We just wanted to try and find a spot without the top 3-year-olds," O'Neill said.

That goal has been achieved, and winning may be within reach.

has four opponents, none of whom are major stakes winners. One intriguing runner is Top of the Bill, a French import who recently joined trainer Neil Drysdale's stable.

Owned by Maktoum al Maktoum, Top of the Bill won an allowance race over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Chantilly in May. Top of the Bill finished sixth in the listed Prix Le Fabuleux over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Longchamp on Oct. 17 in his final start for trainer Andre Fabre.

Top of the Bill worked three furlongs on turf in 36.80 seconds at Hollywood Park on Thursday. Drysdale said the one-mile distance of the Bien Bien Stakes may be a concern.

"I think he might want a bit farther," he said. "We've got to start somewhere."

O'Neill has two runners in the race - Perfect Moon and Whilly.

We Love Aleyna, who has started primarily in claiming races, also will start.

Perfect Moon finished fifth in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park in his last start. He won the restricted El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar in September.

Whilly is seeking his first stakes win. A winner of 4 of 9 starts, he finished sixth in the Italian 2000 Guineas and eighth in the Italian Derby in May before finishing third behind Greek Sun in the Grade 3 Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap here in his U.S. debut June 26.

Following that race, Whilly was required to undergo a 30-day quarantine before rejoining the O'Neill stable. Whilly ran eighth in his next start, in the Oak Tree Derby on Oct. 17, leading to early stretch.

"We probably rushed him a little to go in the Oak Tree Derby," O'Neill said. "He probably did too much early."

O'Neill would prefer to see Whilly stalking the pace. That might not be a problem in the Bien Bien Stakes with Wild Babe likely to lead. Wild Babe won a division of the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar on July 21, but has been unplaced in two optional claimers at Del Mar and Santa Anita.