Perfect Soul remained perfect on the Keeneland turf course, winning the competitive Maker's Mark Mile (gr. IIT) Friday under a well-judged ride by Edgar Prado in course record time.
Perfect Soul, who had not raced since finishing ninth in last October's NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), set a course record for a mile at Keeneland, running the distance in 1:33.54. The previous mark was 1:33.72.
Perfect Soul, a 6-year-old Irish-bred horse by Sadler's Wells out of the Secretariat mare Ball Chairman, is owned by his breeder, Charles Fipke. Roger Attfield trains Perfect Soul, who is now three-for-three on the Keeneland turf. He won the track's Turf Mile (gr. IT) last fall.
"This is such a nice horse to ride because you can put him anywhere you want depending on the pace," Prado said. "I think he knows where the wire is here. Roger did a super job bringing the horse back here."
Robby Albarado nearly stole the race aboard Royal Spy. Despite setting quick early fractions, :23.02 and :45.29, Royal Spy proved tough to run down. Prado had Perfect Soul rolling on the outside while Burning Roma, who had taken up the chase earlier, was between horses. At the wire, only a half-length separated the top three, with Burning Roma a head in front of Royal Spy.
Perfect Soul has won seven of 16 lifetime starts. His first win over the Keeneland grass course came in his first start of 2003 – just as he entered the Maker's Mark – after spending the winter in Florida at Payson Park. The winning purse Friday, $124,000, increased his lifetime earnings to $1,260,215.
"I was a little concerned because the turf was so firm today but he loves the Keeneland turf," Attfield said. "We gave him a lot of time off. He's just a wonderful horse and Edgar rides him so great. I'm just delighted for everybody."
Attfield said he leaning toward the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs May 29 next for Perfect Soul.
"We might go over to Churchill for the other bourbon race. I'm a scotch drinker, but I'm beginning to like bourbon now."
The race was a good betting heat, with Perfect Drift, Stroll, Perfect Soul and Honor in War all around 3-1. Perfect Soul paid $8.80, $5.40, and $4. Burning Roma returned $14.60 and $9.80 and Royal Spy was worth $8.
Honor in War was fourth, followed by the slight favorite Stroll, Millennium Dragon, Freefourinternet, Perfect Drift, Needwood Blade and Hear No Evil.
Perfect Drift was within striking distance while wide around the final turn, but flattened out in the stretch. Stroll saved ground and was also in contention in the stretch, but failed to fire. Honor in War offered only a mild bid.