Trainer Confident in Abilities of Perfect Drift
Date Posted: 8/12/2003 3:23:20 PM

Trainer Murray Johnson is 100 percent confident in the abilities of Perfect Drift to copy his grade I winning dirt form to the turf for Saturday's Arlington Million (gr. IT) at Arlington Park.

"I am confident he can be a grade I winner on the turf," Johnson said Tuesday during a National Thoroughbred Racing Association teleconference. "I feel like we belong with the top horses and I think he can run with anybody. I guess we will find out Saturday."

Perfect Drift has three wins in four starts on the year, including a grade I score in the Stephen Foster, where he upset highweight and odds-on favorite Mineshaft. He began the year with an allowance win on the turf at Keeneland and finished fourth in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) on the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) undercard.

"With his breeding he is perfect for the turf, and he has matured a lot from last year. We've done it on the dirt and don't feel like we should be afraid of anybody," said Johnson, who conditions the homebred gelding for Dr. William Reed's Stonecrest Farm.

The Australian-born trainer said regardless of the outcome of the Million, Perfect Drift is not being considered for either the Breeders' Cup Classic or Turf, both grade I.

"Everything depends on the outcome of this race, but hopefully we'll be heading to Australia for the Cox Plate (Aust-I). I feel like it would be a good race for him."

Johnson went on to say that since Perfect Drift is a gelding his racing career would be extended and the Breeders' Cup remains an option for next year.

"He is Breeders' Cup eligible but right now we want to win a few races and do what is best for the horse. He's a gelding and we have a lot of time."

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