The scratch of the 123-pound highweight leaves Mandella with Olmodavor, who now carries top weight of 119 pounds in the 67th running of Santa Anita's marquee race at 1 ¼ miles for older horses.
"When I came in this morning I walked by his stall on the way to the office," Mandella said of Pleasantly Perfect, who won last year's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita. "He had eaten his dinner and he looked fine when I walked by. But an hour later when I was down at the track with a set of horses, Becky (assistant Becky Witzman) called me. We take all (horses') temperatures before they train every day. The groom had taken Pleasantly Perfect's temperature (around 6:30 a.m.) and Becky called to tell me it was 102, which is a sick horse. Normal is around 100, maybe up to 100 and four-fifths.
"Anyway, I came back and looked at him and he felt warm and felt like he didn't feel good, just looking at him. Amazing thing now (at about 9 a.m.) his temperature has gone down to normal and he's standing there eating his hay rack like nothing's wrong. But we took his temperature with two different thermometers to make sure we didn't have a bad thermometer or something."
Despite the quick return to a normal temperature range, Mandella decided to use caution, citing the horse's best interests.
"It would give me great concern if I ran him because if a horse gets a little sick or (has) a virus, it can feel good one hour and not the next. That might be what we're seeing now. If I ran him tomorrow and he was a little sick it would turn into pneumonia and I couldn't take that chance, so I don't see any chance that I can run tomorrow. "I can only hope that it's not too bad, that it's not much of a deal and it'll get by and there may be the chance that we'll go to Dubai (for the $6 million World Cup on March 27). The next few days will tell that story."