Perfect Drift, the third place finisher in the 2002 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), breezed an easy half-mile Saturday at Churchill Downs' Trackside Louisville training center and trainer Murray Johnson said the Dynaformer gelding appears ready for a likely run in next Saturday's $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I).
Jockey Joe Deegan was in the saddle for the work as Perfect Drift covered four furlongs in :48.60 over "muddy" footing on the seven furlong track. The work ranked fifth among 20 at the distance. Perfect Drift has worked brilliantly since a fourth-place finish to Honor In War in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. I) on Kentucky Derby Day, but Johnson said he was not looking for a sparkling effort in Saturday's move.
"We were just looking for a regular sort of maintenance work," said Johnson. "He got off very slow the first eighth and came home (four furlongs) in :48 and galloped out well. He was very relaxed and happy."
Johnson has been pointing Perfect Drift toward the Stephen Foster, but had also considered a bid for the $400,000 Californian (gr. II) at Hollywood Park on the same day. He is eager to see the weights for the race, which are scheduled to be released by Churchill Downs Racing Secretary Doug Bredar on Sunday, but Johnson said the Stephen Foster appears to be the best fit for his 4-year-old.
"They way everything looks, we're going to stay right here," he said. "If we didn't like the weights or if all of the sudden a few people turned up that weren't going to turn up, we'd probably look to make a change. But Mineshaft and Aldebaran look like the two main ones and we're willing to take our shot against them."
Perfect Drift will bring a career record of 5-3-1 in 12 races and earnings of $778,838 into the Foster.