12/30/2006 12:00AM

Perfect Motion shows she belongs


MIAMI - Perfect Motion got a head start on the winter in Florida while trainer Ken McPeek was tending to business back home in Kentucky. Shipped south a few weeks ahead of the rest of the stable, Perfect Motion raced twice at Calder while temporarily stabled with Frank Gomez, and those races were good enough to earn her a berth in Monday's $100,000 Tropical Park Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile turf race.

Perfect Motion is part of a field of 12 3-year-old fillies, plus three also-eligibles, entered in the Tropical Oaks, a race that shares the Calder program spotlight with its brother race, the Tropical Park Derby.

Perfect Motion most recently finished second in the Dec. 9 Cherokee Frolic Stakes, four weeks after she finished third in a stakes restricted to Florida-breds.

Perfect Motion won her career debut over the new Polytrack surface at Keeneland in October, then was shifted to turf for those last two starts at Calder.

"Her future's on grass," said McPeek. "She's a beautiful galloper, and distance is a non-issue with her. She seems to have figured the game out pretty quickly. After this race I'm probably going to give her a little time to grow up, and she'll come back bigger and stronger in April, May, and June."

Perfect Motion was purchased for $26,000 by Lisa and Eliah Kahn, who won the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup with Sweet Talker in October 2005, when McPeek was taking a 10-month sabbatical from training. Like many of the former McPeek clients, the Kahns are sending him horses again. And like many of the McPeek yearling purchases, Perfect Motion went for a relatively low price.

"Everybody knows I really like doing that, getting them for what I think is a bargain and having them outrun their purchase price," said McPeek.

Perfect Motion is one of a handful of logical contenders in the Tropical Oaks. The other likely favorites are Christmas Kid, who most recently finished third in the Oct. 22 Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont Park, and Snow Cone, a locally based filly who has won back-to-back races, most recently a restricted stakes here on Dec. 3.

Fringe players include a pair of Maryland invaders, Changeisgonnacome and Cat Charmer, along with Arlington Lassie winner Lisa M.