07/15/2009 12:00AM

Perfect Officer gets his setup in turf dash


With several speed horses signed on, Friday's feature race at Monmouth, a five-furlong turf sprint, figures to set up for a closer, and Perfect Officer appears to fit the bill perfectly.

The feature, the eighth of nine races on the card, is a second-level allowance for 3-year-olds and older.

Perfect Officer has sprinted on the grass only twice, both times at Gulfstream Park, finishing a close second in a claimer when he ran into traffic trouble, and then winning his next start, an open allowance. In that race he was able to run down Regardlesofoutcome, who failed at 4-5 despite having a loose lead.

Regardlesofoutcome is back in Friday's feature, and while his Beyer Speed Figures make him one of the top contenders, he is best when on the lead, and figures to face some early pressure this time around from the speedy I'm Entitled and Just Playin Around. Like Regardlesofoutcome, neither of those runners has shown that he can rate effectively, so a three-way duel is entirely possible. That scenario would favor Perfect Officer.

In his last start, the Anderson Fowler Stakes, Perfect Officer failed to break alertly and had to settle for fourth, but that race was rained off the turf and moved to the sloppy main track. He has run well on dirt, and he was third over a synthetic surface in the Tom Ridge Stakes at Presque Isle Downs. But the Beyer Figure of 96 that Perfect Officer earned for his win on the Gulfstream grass course indicates that grass is his best surface.

"He'd always worked well on the dirt, but we were most impressed with how he worked on the turf," said George Weaver, trainer of Perfect Officer. "Early on, I didn't know if he had enough speed to run five-eighths on the turf, but he showed in those Gulfstream races that he's quick enough."

Joe Bravo, who was aboard for the win at Gulfstream, will ride Perfect Officer again on Friday.

Earlswood Pete has steady Beyers and comes off a near-miss over this course when he was fourth against $50,000 claimers going 5 1 1/2 furlongs. A three-time turf-sprint winner, Earlswood Pete has speed, but he can also rate, and he should be nicely positioned behind the expected fast pace. Edwin Rivera will ride Earlswood Pete.

Sky Jet and Inhaler complete the field of seven.