Updated on 09/17/2011 6:39PM

Freefourinternet stuns Perfect Drift

Four Footed Photo
Freefourinternet rolls past Perfect Drift in the stretch en route to a 1 3/4-length win in the Grade 2, $750,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup at Hawthorne on Saturday.

STICKNEY, Ill. - If Freefourinternet seemed on paper like an unlikely winner of the , you should have seen him five furlongs from the finish. It looked like he was in a different horserace, some 25 lengths behind the leaders, Quest Star, Powerful Touch, and the powerful favorite, Perfect Drift. But before he hit the far turn, Freefourinternet started running. He picked off horses one by one around the bend, came into the stretch with a full head of steam, and swept past Perfect Drift in the final furlong, winning the Grade 2, $750,000 Gold Cup by 1 3/4 lengths, paying $56 to win.

Freefourinternet, a 6-year-old Tabasco Cat horse owned by Equirace.com LLC and Ron Peitz, had never won a race of this stature before. Neither had trainer Mike Maker, a former D. Wayne Lukas assistant who's been out on his own for a year and a half, or jockey Greta Kuntzweiler, an 8 percent rider in 2004.

"Greta rode a picture perfect race," said Maker, calm and poised in victory. "I don't look at the stats."

The Gold Cup was par for Perfect Drift's season. The horse has failed to win in seven starts, and trainer Murray Johnson remains winless in 2004.

"Second again," Johnson said, shrugging his shoulders.

Perfect Drift won last year's Gold Cup, but jockey Pat Day said he had less horse this time.

"When the horse went by him, he should have dropped down and run," Day said. "He just didn't give me that."

Freefourinternet, who began his career in England, was making only his fifth dirt start, his lone win coming in an off-the-turf allowance race last winter at Fair Grounds. He was trained then by Joan Scott, and Maker took over only in June. The horse won his only start for Maker, taking the Labor Day Handicap at Mountaineer Park by a head, and it was then that Maker got a feel for the horse's running style.

"My philosophy is when they break the gate, go grab a popcorn and come back later," Maker said.

During snack time, Quest Star held a narrow lead into the far turn, going an opening quarter-mile on a fast track in 23.40 seconds and a half in 47.32, pressed to the outside by Powerful Touch and Perfect Drift. The trio held their positions through six furlongs in 1:11.24, but Powerful Touch suddenly dropped back. It was down to Perfect Drift and Quest Star on the lead, as Sonic West tried to rally, but at the quarter pole, Freefourinternet and Kuntzweiler seemed to be moving twice as fast. They swept past Quest Star, took aim on Perfect Drift, and mowed him down, sustaining the big run through 1 1/4 miles in a modest 2:03.34. Sonic West held, third, followed by Quest Star, Caiman, Kissin Saint, and Powerful Touch.

Freefourinternet finished sixth in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Mile. His win Saturday might've earned him a spot in the 2004 Classic.

"All he has to do is maintain his form for the next month," Maker said.

* Beret swept to victory in the $100,000 Indian Maid, a race after the Gold Cup. Rallying wide under Carlos Marquez, she easily outkicked Delicatessa and Golden Trevally in the 1 1/16-mile grass race.