Perfect Drift, second in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes to Request for Parole, put the finishing touches on his preparations for Saturday's Lane's End Spiral Stakes (gr. II) on Tuesday with a five-furlong drill at Trackside training track in Louisville. The Stonecrest Farm homebred colt trained by Murray Johnson covered the distance over a sloppy, rain-soaked surface in 1:02 2/5.
With rider Fabio Arguello aboard, the son of Dynaformer broke off slowly at the five-eighths pole near the beginning of the first turn of the six-furlong track, and completed the first furlong in about 14 seconds. According to Johnson, Perfect Drift picked up the pace around the final turn and through the stretch.
"He finished really well," Johnson said. "The clocker said he caught him going the last three-eighths in :35 and change. Mentally, the horse couldn't be doing better."
Johnson, who trained Green Alligator to a fourth-place finish in the 1991 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), has enlisted Hall of Fame rider Eddie Delahoussaye to ride Perfect Drift in the Lane's End Spiral. Johnson believes the two-time Derby-winning rider will be good fit in Saturday's 1 1/8-mile prep.
"Eddie is a very patient rider," Johnson said. "In the stretch, we'll engage whoever is left. It looks like the race is setting up well."
In Maryland, unbeaten Saratoga Blues galloped at his Laurel Park base for trainer Tony Dutrow Tuesday morning. The likely favorite in the Lane's End Spiral is coming off a score in the 1 1/16-miles Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct. Mario Pino, a perennial leading rider on the Maryland circuit, will ride Saratoga Blues for owner Alvin Akman.
Request for Parole, who defeated Perfect Drift in the Battaglia, jogged over the Turfway Park surface. Trainer Steve Margolis had planned to gallop the son of Judge T C, but decided to take it easier over the rain-slick surface.
"He's won on a sloppy track, and he's won on a hard track," Margolis said of Jeri and Sam Knighton's runner. "He's been able to handle any kind of surface.
Other Spiral runners getting in some late exercise were Farforshire's Benny the Hawk, who galloped 2 1/2 miles at Turfway Tuesday morning; and West Point Stable's My Man Ryan, who jogged at Aqueduct.