Although there are still several major preps remaining for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), the leading players are pretty well set, with Pleasantly Perfect, Ghostzapper, and Birdstone all heading straight for Texas. But there is still one player – former Horse of the Year Azeri -- who could add a whole new dimension to the race.
The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships comes to Lone Star Park. The question is, what to expect? Most fans and horsemen don't know a thing about Lone Star, mainly the dirt surface, grass course, and any track biases. So, sit back for the next eight weeks or so and follow the world's best horses on their journey to the unknown.
by Brian P. Turner -- Veteran Brisnet handicapper reviews recent action at Del Mar and previews action of the coming week.
Pleasantly Perfect, rebounding strongly from defeat three weeks ago in the San Diego Handicap (gr. II), convincingly took the centerpiece of the Del Mar meeting, the Pacific Classic (gr. I), with a scintillating turn of foot the last quarter mile.
Diamond A Racing Corporations' multi-millionaire Pleasantly Perfect was labeled the early 6-5 favorite in a field of eight set to go postward in Sunday's $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar.
Pleasantly Perfect had trainer Richard Mandella smiling after seeing the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner work a sharp five furlongs in one minute flat Tuesday. Pleasantly Perfect, second in the San Diego Handicap (gr. II), is preparing for Del Mar's $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) Aug. 22.
Pleasantly Perfect, winner of the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) and second in his comeback effort, the San Diego Handicap (gr. II) on Aug. 1, remains atop the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Top 10 poll released on Tuesday.
Even the Score, bothered by foot problems, was dropped from consideration for the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) on Aug. 22 by trainer Vladimir Cerin Sunday. Another prospect for the race, Olmodavor is extremely questionable, according to trainer Richard Mandella.
Robert Bone's undefeated Choctaw Nation earned his reservation for the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) with a powerful rally to mow down Pleasantly Perfect and capture the $250,000 San Diego Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar Sunday.
Pleasantly Perfect always fires when he's fresh and the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner, out of action since winning the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) in March, is training as though he'll be ready for Sunday's $250,000 San Diego Handicap (gr. II) At Del Mar Sunday.
Trainer Richard Mandella reported Monday morning that he has an agreement from Jerry Bailey to ride Pleasantly Perfect in Del Mar's grade I, $1-million Pacific Classic and the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
Pleasantly Perfect, winner of the 2003 Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) and Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), put in the "serious" mile workout trainer Richard Mandella expected of him as the 6-year-old son of Pleasant Colony prepped for Del Mar's $250,00 San Diego Handicap (gr. II) Sunday, Aug. 1.
The ninth running of the world's richest horse race, the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) over ten furlongs at Nad Al Sheba on Saturday, was billed as a match between the American duo of Pleasantly Perfect and Medaglia D'Oro. For once, the main protagonists had read the script as Pleasantly Perfect outran Medaglia d'Oro in the stretch.
On Saturday, the talking, the waiting, the worrying can stop. At 9.20 p. m. (local time; 12:20 p.m. EST) in the United Arab Emirates, the sun will have set at Nad Al Sheba racecourse, the floodlights will be on, and the stars will come out. A full $6 million worth of stars.
On Saturday, the talking, the waiting, the worrying can stop. At 9.20 p. m. in the United Arab Emirates, the sun will have set at Nad Al Sheba racecourse, the floodlights will be on, and the stars will come out. A full $6 million worth of stars.
TVG will televise the ninth annual Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) during a three hour presentation that will run from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. ET Saturday, March 27.
As a hazy, early morning sun gazed down on Nad Al Sheba racecourse Wednesday, it was hard to believe that just a few miles away the U.S. consulate in Dubai had been closed due to a terror alert.
The connections of Medaglia d'Oro were downhearted Wednesday after the gallant 5-year-old received an unfavorable draw for Saturday's $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I).
As expected, the names of Pleasantly Perfect and Medaglia d'Oro were the standouts among the 12 declarations for the world's richest horse race, Saturday night's 10-furlong Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) on the Nad Al Sheba dirt. Meanwhile, From The Sky, a group 1 winner in his native Argentina, was a surprise absentee among the UAE Derby declarations.
Even though he did little but gallop around the Nad al Sheba dirt track on Monday morning, Pleasantly Perfect put on a show for a throng including owner Gerald Ford and trainer Richard Mandella, as he prepared for his run in the $6,000,000 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), sponsored by Emirates Airline.
Fourteen of the United States' best older horses have departed on flights from Los Angeles and Florida for the world's richest racing meeting later this month, the Dubai Racing Club confirmed Saturday.
Pleasantly Perfect, scheduled to leave Saturday for the $6 million Dubai World Cup March 27, worked seven furlongs in company Thursday at Santa Anita in 1:25 3/5 under Alex Solis.
Pleasantly Perfect, scratched from Saturday's Santa Anita Handicap due to a fever, "is doing good," trainer Richard Mandella reported Sunday morning.
Pleasantly Perfect, the 6-5 morning line favorite for Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), was declared from the race Friday morning due to a fever, trainer Richard Mandella said.
From forgotten prospect to the doorstep of greatness, Pleasantly Perfect leads the field as the 6-5 morning favorite in Saturday's 67th running of the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I).
Island Fashion, who has won consecutive grade I races at seven furlongs, hopes to make history Saturday by becoming the first filly to win the grade I, 1 1/4-mile Santa Anita Handicap.
Trainer Bob Baffert sent out a slew of his top sophomores for workouts Monday over Santa Anita's fast main track and leading the parade was San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) candidate Consecrate, who worked five furlongs in 1:00 2/5.
Southern Image worked five furlongs Sunday on Santa Anita's fast main track in :58 3/5 in his final major prep for Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I). Afterward, trainer Mike Machowsky pronounced the winner of the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) and the Sunshine Millions Classic ready to go.
No filly has ever won the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), but Island Fashion could become the first in 67 runnings of the 10-furlong race on March 6.
With Tuesday's break in the recent rainy weather hitting California, several top horses were out on the track at Santa Anita getting workouts in before the next wave of wet weather is scheduled to pass through the area on Wednesday.
With rain forecast over much of the next few days, Mandella accelerated the work schedules of Pleasantly Perfect and male 2-year-old colt champion Action This Day, working both Friday.
Breeders' Cup Classic - Presented by Dodge (gr. I) winner Pleasantly Perfect worked seven furlongs in 1:25.40 at Santa Anita Monday as he prepped for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) on March 6.
Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Pleasantly Perfect worked five furlongs in 1:01 at Santa Anita Tuesday morning with regular rider Alex Solis in the saddle. Annother notable name on Santa Anita's worktab Tuesday was Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II) hero Bluesthestandard, who fired a bullet three furlongs in :35 1/5.
Pleasantly Perfect's half-sister, a Lemon Drop Kid filly, was born Feb. 8 at Robin F. Scully's Clovelly Farms near Lexington.
Diamond A Racing's Pleasantly Perfect, with regular rider Alex Solis in the saddle, returned from his Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) victory in October in fine form, posting a four-length victory in the $250,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Saturday.
A new, improved version of Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Pleasantly Perfect will make his first start since winning the $4-million race last October when he goes to the gate for Saturday's $250,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II), also at Santa Anita.
Stonerside Stables' Congaree will defend his title in the $250,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) Saturday at Santa Anita despite being assigned 124 pounds for his 6-year-old seasonal debut. He'll spot three pounds to Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Pleasantly Perfect, who also makes his initial start as a 6-year-old.
Pleasantly Perfect, Funny Cide, Congaree, Medaglia d'Oro, and some top Kentucky Derby (gr. I) candidates are among the U.S.-based horses who have been invited to compete in one of the seven stakes races at Nad al Sheba on March 27, Dubai World Cup Day, when more than $15,000,000 will be offered in purses.
Eclipse Award finalist Congaree, gearing up for his first start as a 6-year-old, worked six furlongs in 1:12 3/5 over Santa Anita's fast main track Saturday morning.
Diamond A Racing Corporation's Pleasantly Perfect, last seen winning the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), continues down the road to his first start since winning on the World Thoroughbred Championship card by working six furlongs in 1:12 1/5 with jockey Alex Solis aboard at Santa Anita Tuesday morning.
The March 27 Dubai World Cup, worth $6 million, has attracted 84 nominations, including Pleasantly Perfect, Medaglia d'Oro, Funny Cide, and Congaree.
The San Gabriel Mountains could barely be seen against the black morning sky. Then, just before 5:30, a fiery glow appeared, illuminating the peaks off to the east. As in 1993, raging fires had broken out near Santa Anita, although these were some 40 miles away.
Trainer Richard Mandella remained non-committal Sunday about plans for his four Breeders' Cup winners, including Pleasantly Perfect, winner of the Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
Richard Mandella won his fourth race on the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship card, and Alex Solis continued a celebration that began Friday when notching his 4,000th win, as Pleasantly Perfect won the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Santa Anita.
Breeders' Cup World Championships week began Monday with a flurry of track activity at Santa Anita Park, where the Breeders' Cup races hosted by the Oak Tree Racing Association will be held Saturday.
Favored Pleasantly Perfect, making his first start since March 1, won Saturday's $500,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita for the second year in a row, tenaciously defeating a determined Fleetstreet Dancer by a half-length.
John Scanlan says Toccet is at his best for Saturday's $500,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita at 1 1/8 miles. If the trainer has any reservations as to how the well-traveled 3-year-old will fare, it's because the son of Awesome Again is making his debut against his elders.
Defending Goodwood Handicap (gr. II) champion Pleasantly Perfect, who hasn't raced since March 1 when he was fourth in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), "is coming up to Saturday's Goodwood very good and I expect him to run as good as he can run," trainer Richard Mandella said Wednesday at Santa Anita.
Even though the weights won't be released until Friday, a field of nine is probable for the Pimlico Special (gr. I). Returning after a year's hiatus, Maryland's premier race for older horses will be run on Friday, May 16, the day before the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
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