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HORSE RACING

Stevens Gets Perfect Drift for Breeders' Cup Classic

October 12, 2003|Bob Mieszerski | Times Staff Writer

Jockey Gary Stevens has won the Perfect Drift sweepstakes.

The Hall of Fame rider, who has won eight Breeders' Cup races but never the Classic, was given the mount for the $4-million conclusion to the Breeders' Cup card Oct. 25 at Santa Anita.

Owner William Reed and trainer Murray Johnson informed Stevens of their decision Saturday morning. Pat Day has been the regular rider for the 4-year-old Dynaformer gelding, but he has a commitment to Travers and Super Derby winner Ten Most Wanted in the Classic.

A winner of more than 4,700 races in his career, Stevens is fourth on the all-time list in terms of Breeders' Cup victories and purses ($13,441,160). In the 1993 Classic, the last time the event was held at Santa Anita, Stevens was second with Bertrando behind longshot Arcangues.

Unbeaten on the main track in 2003, including stakes victories over the now-retired Mineshaft and Congaree, Perfect Drift worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 over Churchill Downs' Trackside Louisville Training Center.

Under jockey Joe Deegan, Perfect Drift, who has won nine of 17 in his career, galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.60.

"He couldn't be any better," Johnson said. "If anything, he went easier the first quarter and then just finished up strong. It was probably as strong as I've ever seen him gallop out."

Johnson indicated Perfect Drift will have another shorter work Saturday, then ship to Santa Anita on Oct. 22 or 23.

Medaglia d'Oro, who many believe will be the slight favorite in the Classic, worked seven furlongs in 1:25 under jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. at Hollywood Park.

Owned by Ed Gann and trained by Bobby Frankel, who will marry Bonita Boniface today in Maryland, Medaglia d'Oro hasn't run since finishing second to Candy Ride in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 24.

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Film Maker, an 11-1 shot, out-finished pacesetter Maiden Tower by a nose, then survived a stewards' inquiry to win the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland.

Owned by Courtlandt Farm, the 3-year-old Dynaformer filly won for the fourth time in nine starts and provided trainer H. Graham Motion with his first Grade I victory. Edgar Prado rode the winner, who completed the 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:47.82.

Indy Five Hundred, the 2-1 favorite who had soundly defeated Dimitrova in the Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap last month at Belmont Park, finished last in the field of 10.

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Jockey Jerry Bailey won two of the four stakes on Calder's card, winning the $400,000 My Dear Girl Stakes with Chatter Chatter and the $200,000 Calder Derby with heavily favored Stroll.

In the two other races, 19-1 shot Love Sting under jockey Gary Bain led all the way in the $200,000 Calder Oaks, and Sir Oscar remained unbeaten in five starts with a victory in the $400,000 In Reality under jockey Julio Garcia.

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Belleski, the 19-10 favorite, won for the fourth time in as many starts on the Santa Anita turf course, beating 7-2 shot Buffythecenterfold by two lengths in the $112,000 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap.

Victor Espinoza rode the 4-year-old Polish Numbers filly for owners Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss and trainer John Sadler. She ran the race of about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf in 1:12.37.

Now five for 10 in her career, Belleski will probably make her next start in the $500,000 Matriarch, a Grade I at a flat mile on the Hollywood Park turf.

"She's a tough little filly," Espinoza said. "She never gets beat down the hill. She loves it. It's going to take a good horse to beat her."

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Kicken Kris, the 3-5 favorite, beat Rowan Park by three-quarters of a length to win the $150,000 Lawrence Realization Handicap at Belmont Park.

Javier Castellano was aboard the winner for the Brushwood Stable and trainer Mike Matz and he ran the 1 1/2 miles on turf in 2:27. The 3-year-old Kris S. colt has won four of 11; all of his victories have come on grass.

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