07/20/2007 11:00PM

Perfect Drift's career in jeopardy


Perfect Drift may have run his last race after being diagnosed with a minor injury to his left front cannon bone, although the gelding's breeder-owner, Dr. William Reed, said Saturday that no decision will be made for several months.

Perfect Drift, currently the second-richest active horse with more than $4.6 million in career earnings, has lost his last 15 races, a streak that began after a victory in the Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park on July 30, 2005. Reed said from Kansas City, Mo., that a recent examination of the 8-year-old gelding by Dr. Bobby Hunt at the Hagyard-Davidson-McGee equine clinic in Lexington, Ky., revealed that Perfect Drift has a tiny crack in his cannon bone, "maybe the start of a condylar fracture," said Reed.

Reed said personnel from his Stonecrest Farm in Kansas City were scheduled to pick up Perfect Drift on Monday from trainer Murray Johnson at his longtime base at the Trackside training center in Louisville, Ky. The gelding will be hand-walked at Stonecrest for 30 days, "then we'll turn him out for two or three months, after which he will be reevaluated," said Reed. "He may be retired, but we haven't decided definitively what we're going to do."

Reed said he initially thought Perfect Drift might have been suffering from an "airway problem" or "he may have just lost his enthusiasm for racing," and that in either case he almost surely would have decided to retire the gelding. "But this is a little different, so we'll give it some time before we make a final decision." He added the cannon-bone injury may have occurred in the May 4 Alysheba at Churchill Downs, a race in which Perfect Drift finished a distant fourth over a sloppy track. In his most recent race, Perfect Drift finished fifth of six starters in a July 8 allowance race at Churchill.

Perfect Drift has won 11 of 46 starts for earnings of $4,680,691. Only Lava Man, with a career bankroll of nearly $5.2 million, has earned more among active runners. The all-time earnings leader is Cigar, with more than $9.9 million.

Johnson said the loss of Perfect Drift will leave him with "just a few horses" at Trackside but he will continue to "dabble" in training while focusing on a private business that sells therapeutic blankets to fellow trainers, clinics, and other equine-related businesses.