Updated on 09/17/2011 10:44AM

Perfect Drift by a head in Foster

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Perfect Drift (left) battles with odds-on favorite Mineshaft in deep stretch of Saturday's Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Five years ago, Pat Day beat a popular odds-on favorite in the Stephen Foster Handicap when Awesome Again edged Silver Charm.

The Hall of Fame jockey did it again Saturday. Perfect Drift, with Day aboard, out-gamed Mineshaft in a stirring stretch duel to win the 22nd running of the $856,500 by a head. Perfect Drift, a 4-year-old gelding who finished third last year in the Kentucky Derby, returned $15.60 in his first Grade 1 triumph.

Mineshaft, the 7-10 favorite in a field of 10 older horses, made an eye-catching move in the far turn of the 1 1/8-mile Foster, drawing off to an open lead after easily overtaking front-runners Crafty Shaw and Consistency. But then Perfect Drift, having comfortably stalked the pace from several lengths back, made his move at the quarter pole, and the stage was set.

"I was forwardly placed, going easily," Day said. "I didn't want to get to the lead too soon. Once we got up to Mineshaft, my horse was running kind enough, and I felt like we had him."

Robby Albarado, rider of Mineshaft, said the big move on the turn was done "well within himself. I didn't want to discourage him any, and I didn't think anybody would get to him at that point. He turned for home, and he gave me what he had. Perfect Drift ran a big race."

Perfect Drift finished 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.55 over a fast track. He carried 115 pounds, eight fewer than highweighted Mineshaft.

Aldebaran, the 3-1 second choice, finished 9 1/2 lengths farther back in third. Then came Crafty Shaw, Colonial Colony, Unbridled Vision, Woodmoon, Proud Citizen, Full Mandate, and Consistency. Bonus Pack and Slider were early scratches.

Perfect Drift, by Dynaformer, was bred and is owned by Dr. William Reed, a Kansas City heart surgeon. He won nearly $700,000 during eight starts at 3 for trainer Murray Johnson, but aside from his respectable run in the Derby, he had finished poorly in his other two Grade 1 attempts, the Belmont and Breeders' Cup Classic. The Foster, which was his first race of the year on dirt following two on turf, lifts his career bankroll past the $1.3 million mark.

The Foster was the richest career win for Johnson, whose stable is based at the nearby Trackside training center.

Pick three and pick four results

Perfect Drift completed an all-stakes pick four that returned a healthy $234.80 for a $1 wager. The earlier winners were Champali ($4.20) in the Northern Dancer, Sand Springs ($11.80) in the Regret, and You ($3) in the Fleur de Lis. A guaranteed pool of $250,000 spurred the handle to $285,827.

The Foster also capped the first NTRA Summer Pick Three of the year, which handled $344,681. The return for a $2 wager was $2,043, with the earlier winners being Iron Deputy (6-1) in the Brooklyn at Belmont and Awesome Time (20-1) in the Leonard Richards at Delaware Park.