Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift continues to be pointed toward Friday's Clark Handicap (gr.II) despite a minor foot ailment that canceled a work on Saturday and kept him in the barn for a second consecutive day on Sunday.
Trainer Murray Johnson said the 3-year-old Dynaformer gelding, the third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and winner of the Indiana Derby (gr. III) and Spiral Stakes (gr. II), was found to have a small abscess in his right front hoof on Saturday morning.
Perfect Drift suffered a similar problem in the days leading up to the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). The infection at that time was in his left fore. Johnson's horse finished last in the 12-horse Classic at Arlington Park, but the trainer attributes that effort more to an incident just after the break in which Perfect Drift was stepped on by a rival and stripped of his shoe.
Johnson said Perfect Drift has responded quickly to his treatment for the foot problem and should be ready for the Clark if all continues to go well.
"It looks good and he continues to improve," Johnson said. "He's sound and everything. We'll put a shoe on tomorrow and probably take him to the track or tack-walk him (under the shed row) tomorrow and go to the track Tuesday for sure."
Johnson said Perfect Drift's latest foot problem was discovered early Saturday, the day on which the gelding was scheduled to turn in his last major work in preparation for the Clark.
"He'd galloped fantastic on Friday, just like he did last time, and there wasn't any sign of it the day before," said Johnson. "He was doing everything good, but in the morning (on Saturday) he was sensitive. He lets you know what's going on. Before training had finished we had found the problem and had soaked it and worked on it. So we're way ahead of ourselves as far as treating it. We got onto it right away because we sort of knew what we were dealing with."