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Perfect Drift
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Skip Dickstein

Classic Pedigree Profile: Perfect Drift

Perfect Drift may not be a great horse, but he is the sort of hard-knocking old warrior that often gains a loyal following. If he doesn't often win the big ones, he seldom throws in a bad race either, and he keeps on trying year in and year out. And when at his best, he can be dangerous in almost any race.

Perfect Drift is the result of a union between a sire who has earned his way into the top ranks through sheer merit and a female family that, until he came along, had enjoyed no more than modest success in many years. He is by Dynaformer, who entered stud in 1990 after a good but unspectacular racing career in which he won seven of 30 starts, among them the 1988 Jersey Derby (gr. II) and Discovery Handicap (gr. II).

Once advertised at $5,000 live foal, Dynaformer now stands at $100,000 – with good reason. Through Oct. 1, his 849 foals of racing age have so far yielded 75 stakes winners (9.9%) and 499 winners (59%). Those are excellent results for any sire, and it is equally impressive that Dynaformer has achieved his record with relatively modest mares compared to other top sires. His lifetime Comparable Index is only 1.71, indicating that his mates have been above average but hardly exceptional, and his Average Earnings Index is 2.19, indicating that he is improving his mares' records.

Dynaformer hit the front pages this spring with Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner whose battle for survival following a life-threatening injury in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) has kept the nation riveted. Even before Barbaro, however, Dynaformer had firmly established himself as one of the best sires of staying runners in North America. His progeny include two-time Flower Bowl Invitational Handicap (gr. IT) winner Riskaverse, 2005 Diana Stakes (gr. IT) winner Sand Springs, 2003 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. IT) winner Film Maker, 2001 Hempstead Handicap (gr. I) winner Critical Eye, 2003 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap (gr. I) winner Starrer, 1998 Early Times Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) winner Vergennes, 2000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. IT) winner Collect the Cash, and two-time US champion steeplechaser McDynamo.

As a survey of Dynaformer's grade I winners shows, Dynaformer has proven a versatile stallion, capable of getting top runners on both dirt and turf. In this, he is similar to his own sire, Roberto. Primarily a sire of top turf runners, including 1988 US champion turf male Sunshine Forever and 1977 Irish champion juvenile filly Sookera, Roberto was nonetheless represented on dirt by 1981 Canadian champion older male Driving Home, 1988 Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Brian's Time, 1984 Young America Stakes (gr. I) winner Script Ohio, and 1983 Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) winner Capitol South.

Perfect Drift's female family is far more modest. His dam, Nice Gal, was durable, winning 12 of 44 starts, but not particularly classy; her biggest win was in the $25,000 Helena Stakes. She was by another durable performer in Naskra, who won seven of sixty-three starts (including two stakes) and placed in another twenty-nine races despite chronic problems with rather thin-soled feet. At stud, Naskra became a consistent breed-to-race sire of tough runners much like himself and occasionally came up with a top-class horse; his best was 1979 champion sprinter Star de Naskra.

Nice Gal was produced from the Vigors mare Vigal, whose five wins from twenty-two starts included two small stakes. The next three dams were all undistinguished, though Perfect Drift's seventh dam was the Gazelle Handicap winner Lady Baltimore.

How much longer Perfect Drift will continue racing is anyone's guess. As a gelding, he has no stud career to look forward to, so he will probably continue running as long as he remains sound and competitive. With a heritage of durability on both sides of the pedigree, that may be for a long time indeed.