"I think if I was an athlete going into the biggest performance of your life, I'd prefer to be in a peaceful surrounding and what you're used to," Johnson said. "Hopefully that will work for him."Perfect Drift has won three of six career starts and finished second to Request for Parole in two stakes races.
Stonecrest Farm's Lane's End Spiral Stakes (gr. II) winner Perfect Drift worked six furlongs for trainer Murray Johnson Friday at Churchill Downs' Trackside training center. The Dynaformer gelding worked in company with stablemate Slough Creek -- a 4-year-old gelded son of Dynaformer -- and completed the drill in 1:13 3/5, handily, on the fast track and under Joe Deegan."It was impressive," Deegan said. "The horse worked as good as you could expect him to work. He settled nice behind the other horse and then when I let him run he blew by him and he finished real strong. He galloped out real strong to the 5/8th-pole. It was as good a work as you could want from a horse."Perfect Drift began the work several lengths behind Slough Creek before coming to even terms with the workmate on the turn, then drew away in upper-stretch. Perfect Drift went in fractions of :25 3/5, :49 4/5, and 1:02 1/5 before galloping out seven furlongs in 1:26. Slough Creek, who finished third in the 2001 Steinlen Handicap and is an allowance winner at 1 1/2 miles, completed his six furlongs in 1:14 2/5.Deegan says the win in the Spiral Stakes seems to have helped Perfect Drift's confidence."His confidence seemed to really grow after that and he's matured and he's growing and thickening up all the time and getting stronger," the rider said. "He's just coming the right way and everything has gone right for him. He's taken the right steps and, hopefully, he'll get lucky."Johnson seemed pleased with the work, especially the way the gelding finished up, getting the final eighth in :11 2/5."He's got it down pat (his closing move) and he's done it consistently now for a couple of months," he said. "If anything he did it better today than he ever has."Johnson plans to breeze Perfect Drift again Wednesday and then Tuesday. April 30. The gelding will have his final works at Trackside but will travel to Churchill Downs to school in the paddock.