Major preparations by Breeders' Cup contenders based at Churchill Downs were completed Tuesday as Perfect Drift and three other horses bound for Saturday's races turned in their final preps before shipping to Arlington Park for Saturday's races.
Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) contender Perfect Drift worked five furlongs at Churchill Downs' Trackside Louisville training center, while Sprint (gr. I) contender Day Trader, Juvenile (gr. I) hopeful Lone Star Sky, and Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I) entrant Turtle Bow breezed over a "fast" track.
Perfect Drift--Stonecrest Farm's winner of the Indiana Derby (gr. III) and Spiral Stakes (gr. II)--displayed no lingering effect from a recent minor foot infection as he breezed five furlongs for trainer Murray Johnson in 1:02.60.
Jockey Joe Deegan was aboard for the move over the six-furlong course, and Perfect Drift's work was the fifth fastest of nine at the distance. The work had originally been scheduled for Saturday, but Johnson delayed the move when a minor infection was discovered in the 3-year-old Dynaformer gelding's left front foot. The foot was treated and Perfect Drift returned to gallop over the track on Sunday and Monday.
"He went smooth and looked good," said Johnson. "We were a little closer to the race than we normally would be. He went off easy, finished up good and galloped out well, so we were happy with it."
Johnson saw no lingering problems from Perfect Drift's foot ailment and said he is not concerned that his gelding missed a couple of days of training so close to the race.
"As long as the foot is alright, the training part is irrelevant," he said. "He'd done a strong gallop the day before and it wasn't any big deal at all."
Perfect Drift, the third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby (gr, I), has a career record of 4-3-1 in nine races and has earned $715,980. Johnson said Perfect Drift would ship by van to Arlington Park on Wednesday.
Lone Star Sky--Walter "Buddy" New's Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr, I) contender--breezed an easy half-mile in :50.20 with jockey Mark Guidry in the saddle. He was outfitted with blinkers for the second consecutive work and New said the Tom Amoss-trained son of Conquistador Cielo would run in that piece of equipment in Saturday's 1 1/8-mile race.
"We've experimented with the blinkers and Tom feels like they might help him," said New. "Mark feels like getting him into the race a little earlier on his own will help. He's just a really smart horse and we don't want him to get too far away from us this time of year and have too much to make up."
Lone Star Sky is New's second Breeders' Cup starter his first since 1989, when his Appealing Breeze finished 10th in the Juvenile at Gulfstream Park. That was New's first horse and one he owned in partnership with William Heiligbrodt and R.E. Keefer.
"That horse was a lot of fun," said New. "But we're hoping to do better than tenth this time - a lot better. If he's successful on Saturday, then you can start dreaming big dreams about the first Saturday in May."
Lone Star Sky has a record of 3-2-0 in five races, including wins in the Bashford Manor (gr, III) at Churchill Downs and the Cradle at River Downs, and has earned $338,235. The Florida-bred colt will ship by van to Arlington Park on Wednesday.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas had planned an easy final work for Sprint (gr, I) contender Day Trader and the 3-year-old son of Phone Trick complied as he breezed four furlongs in :49.20 over a "fast" track. The move ranked 20th among 71 at the distance.
Lukas said the winner of the Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III) at Turfway Park and the Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs, should be prominent early in Saturday's Sprint.
"He's a very gifted, natural speed horse," said Lukas. "He doesn't really complement (stablemate) Orientate or some of these other speed horses, but it is what it is and we'll just go over there and see what happens."
Pat Day will ride Day Trader in the Sprint, a partnership that Lukas said is a "marriage made in heaven."
"He's like two different horses," said Lukas. "We try him with other riders and he's not the same horse. We put Pat on him and he runs great for Pat."
Turtle Bow--Andrew Crichton's Flower Bowl (gr. IT) runner-up and contender for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT)--breezed an easy six furlongs over the "fast" main track at Churchill Downs. No time was available for the work.
The French-based Turtle Bow, trained by Francois Rohaut, is scheduled to travel by van to Arlington Park on Friday.