Updated on 09/16/2011 7:27AM

Perfect Drift following same routine


Perfect Drift, who finished third to War Emblem and Proud Citizen in the Kentucky Derby, continued his strong series of training in preparation for a rematch with those two in the June 8 Belmont Stakes by working a sharp six furlongs in 1:12.80 on Monday morning.

Perfect Drift is seen as one of the major threats to War Emblem, who won the Derby and Preakness Stakes and will try to become the sport's 12th Triple Crown winner, and first since Affirmed in 1978. Two other major contenders emerged from the weekend, when Sunday Break and Puzzlement ran one-two in Belmont Park's Peter Pan Stakes on Saturday.

In addition, Proud Citizen - who was second in the Derby and third after a wide trip in the Preakness - had his first work since the Preakness, a half-mile in 50.80 seconds on Sunday at Churchill Downs.

War Emblem, who has won four straight races, is scheduled to have his first work since the Preakness on Wednesday at Churchill Downs. It is the first of two works scheduled before the Belmont by his trainer, Bob Baffert. War Emblem is scheduled to fly from Kentucky to New York on Wednesday, June 5.

As of Monday, 13 were being pointed to the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes, for which entries will be taken next Wednesday.

Perfect Drift worked at the Trackside training center in Louisville, Ky., where his trainer, Murray Johnson, is based. That is where Perfect Drift has been stabled since he began racing, and where he trained up to his excellent effort in the Derby.

For the Belmont, Johnson is using the same strategy as he did going into the Derby. Because he wants a fresh horse for the race - and because he wants Perfect Drift, a gelding, to have a long career - Johnson has spaced Perfect Drift's races judiciously. He had a six-week gap coming into the Derby, and will come into the Belmont not having raced for five weeks, having skipped the Preakness.

"Everything has gone as planned," Johnson said Monday from Louisville, after Perfect Drift worked. "He's gotten better with every race, and he's doing nothing to indicate that he won't keep getting better."

Johnson said Perfect Drift finished the final quarter-mile of his workout in 23.40 seconds, and he had Perfect Drift galloping out seven furlongs in 1:26.40. Joe Deegan, the jockey who regularly works Perfect Drift, was aboard for the drill. Eddie Delahoussaye, who first rode Perfect Drift to his victory in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park, again has the mount in the Belmont.

In other Belmont developments:

* Request for Parole, who skipped the Preakness following a fifth-place finish in the Derby, sizzled six furlongs in 1:11.80 in a workout at Churchill Downs on Sunday. He was third in the Spiral Stakes in his race before the Derby, and has been on the same racing schedule as Perfect Drift in recent months.

* Table Limit has been removed from consideration for the race because he emerged from the Preakness with a cracked hoof, according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who still will be represented by Proud Citizen in the Belmont.

Belmont contenders

The following 13 horses are being considered for the June 8 Belmont Stakes:

HorseJockeyTrainerLast start
Essence of DubaiJ. BaileyS. bin Suroor9th, Ky. Derby
Like a HeroL. Pincay Jr.C. B. Greely1st, Alydar
Magic WeisnerR. MiglioreN. Alberts2nd, Preakness
Medaglia d'OroJ. VelazquezB. Frankel8th, Preakness
Perfect DriftE. DelahoussayeM. Johnson3rd, Ky. Derby
Proud CitizenM. SmithD. W. Lukas3rd, Preakness
PuzzlementJ.-L. SamynH. A. Jerkens2nd, Peter Pan
Request for ParoleR. AlbaradoS. Margolis5th, Ky. Derby
SaravaE. PradoK. McPeek1st, Sir Barton
Sunday BreakG. StevensN. Drysdale1st, Peter Pan
TracemarkA. SolisC. Dollase2nd, L.S. Derby
War EmblemV. EspinozaB. Baffert1st, Preakness
Wiseman's FerryJ. ChavezN. O'Callaghan1st, L.S. Derby