Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift, fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I)) Saturday at Lone Star Park, returned to the track on Thursday at Churchill Downs' Trackside Louisville training center to prepare for the $500,000-added Clark Handicap (gr. II) on Nov. 26.
Trainer Murray Johnson said the 5-year-old Dynaformer gelding walked under tack on Wednesday before returning to the training surface for a jog Thursday morning. He said Perfect Drift appears ready for the 1 1/8-mile Clark.
"The trip (to Texas) didn't seem to take anything out of him," said Johnson. "He's in great shape and it should be a great race."
The Clark could mark Perfect Drift's fourth meeting on the year with Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Roses In May. Johnson's horse has yet to get the best of that rival. Roses In May bested Perfect Drift in their 1-2 finishes in their first two meetings in the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Breeders' Cup (gr. III) and the Whitney (gr. I) at Saratoga. Round three was their 2-4 effort in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
"We'll just see who else is in there," said Johnson. "We'll be good coming back and be able to sharpen up. (Roses In May) won't go up and get any easy lead, that's for sure. If we have to, we'll go up and make him run."
It has been an interesting year for Perfect Drift, who has failed to win in eight starts while compiling a record of 0-5-1 in those races. The check for his fourth-place effort in the Classic was worth $228,000 and boosted his earnings on the year to $891,795.
"He's run some great races," said Johnson. "It's just been circumstances and different things -- little mistakes here and there. Racing luck and other things have contributed to him not winning, but at the same time he's probably been the most consistent of any horse considering the number of times that he has run."
The Clark is expected to be the final race of the year for Perfect Drift. The Stonecrest gelding will then head to the Kansas City, Mo. farm of owner/breeder Dr. William Reed. He'll spend the winter there and then return to Trackside Louisville in the spring to embark on a 2005 campaign.
Perfect Drift's career record now stands at 9-8-2 in 26 races with career earnings of $3,113,163.