01/02/2008 12:00AM

Signature Move looks to learn in allowance

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ARCADIA, Calif. - The recent maiden winner Signature Move needs a few more lessons in basic racing before trainer Eric Guillot thinks he is ready for a stakes.

Guillot has opted to start Signature Move in a $57,000 allowance race over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita on Friday when he could have waited for the $150,000 San Rafael Stakes over a mile on Jan. 12.

If Guillot is correct about Signature Move's ability, there will be many stakes to choose from in coming weeks.

"He hasn't figured it out yet," Guillot said. "I think he's just coming into his own."

Guillot said he is passing the one-mile San Rafael because "I don't want to back him up in distance."

Owned by Southern Equine Stable, Signature Move won his second start on Dec. 14 at Hollywood Park in a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles. He fought for the lead throughout before pulling away to win by 1 1/4 lengths.

"He had a right to get beat," Guillot said. "I think he won on talent.

"I want to try and educate him - let him sit back and stop from being rank. He exerts a lot of energy. I want him to learn how to relax. Hopefully, he can relax the first part; that's why I didn't want to throw him to the wolves in the stakes."

Guillot described Signature Move's condition as "spectacular."

"He's savaging the groom," he said.

Guillot has spoken glowingly about Signature Move for months, even when Salute the Sarge was winning the Hollywood Juvenile Championship and Best Pal Stakes during the summer for the stable.

Signature Move will be tested in the allowance race, which has drawn a field of five.

Two other entrants are coming off a win - M Biarritz and Professnl Courtesy.

Professnl Courtesy was promoted from second to first in a starter allowance over six furlongs on Dec. 12. Friday's race is his first start around two turns.

M Biarritz, trained by Doug O'Neill, is coming off a front-running win in a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles at Hollywood Park on Dec. 1. O'Neill also starts Dr. Au Jus, who was seventh in the Eddie Logan Stakes on turf here last Saturday.

Pistol Pete Afleet is proven over the distance. He won a maiden claimer over a mile on Oct. 31 and finished second in an allowance race over 1 1/16 miles on Dec. 6. Trained by Brian Koriner, Pistol Pete Afleet has shown the ability to stalk the pace.