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).
Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) contenders Kudos, Pleasantly Perfect and Olmodavor are pointed toward important early stakes races by trainer Richard Mandella. Argentine-bred mare Palmarola prepares for the Humana Distaff (gr. II) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day.
Problem-plagued Pleasantly Perfect will miss Saturday's $150,000 San Bernardino Handicap (Gr. II) with a foot injury.
San Luis Obispo (gr. IIT) winner The Tin Man will not run in the Mar. 15 San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT) and will likely miss the remainder of the Santa Anita meet. Trainer Richard Mandella says River God, Pleasantly Perfect and Kudos are ready for action.
Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) winner Milwaukee Brew was doing well, but running a slight fever the day after his historic repeat victory in the $1 million race, trainer Bobby Frankel reported Sunday morning. However, the conditioner wasn't too concerned about the 6-year-old son of Wild Again missing much training.
Milwaukee Brew joins John Henry as the only back-to-back Big 'Cap winners after a classic struggle with Congaree.
Trainer Bob Baffert expressed delight in having Jerry Bailey back aboard Congaree for Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) following the defection Tuesday of Medaglia d'Oro
Milwaukee Brew is set to defend his title for owner Frank Stronach and trainer Bobby Frankel in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) on March 1, but with war drums in the Middle East beating loudly, Frankel could add Strub Stakes (gr. II) winner Medaglia d'Oro to the Big 'Cap mix.
Jockey Jerry Bailey, visiting Santa Anita this weekend, won Sunday's $250,000 San Antonio Stakes with Congaree after capturing Saturday's $400,000 Strub aboard Medaglia d'Oro as well.
The technicality that kept Pleasantly Perfect out of the Breeders' Cup Classic is history, and trainer Richard Mandella believes his lightly raced 5-year-old is ready to deliver a smasher in Sunday's San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
Hall of Fame conditioner Richard Mandella sent out several of his stable stars for workouts at Santa Anita Wednesday morning, including Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) hero Johar.
Padua Stables' undefeated Vindication, preparing for his 3-year-old campaign, had his first workout Tuesday since winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Arlington Park Oct. 26, going three furlongs at Santa Anita in :36.60 under exercise rider Dana Barnes.
Diamond A Racing Corporation's Pleasantly Perfect, on a stakes path for the Santa Anita Handicap March 1, worked four furlongs in :48 2/5 handily over the Arcadia track Wednesday.
Pleasantly Perfect, impressive winner of the Goodwood BC Handicap on Oct. 6, will not be permitted to run in the Breeders' Cup Classic due to the bleeders rule in the State of Illinois.
Yellow Ribbon winner Golden Apples worked four furlongs on the turf Sunday morning at Santa Anita in :50 2/5, according to her trainer, Ben Cecil.
Trainer Craig Dollase says all systems are go for Swept Overboard going to the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) Oct. 26 at Arlington Park, following the 5-year-old's fourth-place finish as the 9-10 favorite in the Ancient Title (gr.I) Saturday at Santa Anita.
Classic field pretty much set; full field likely...Pleasantly Perfect leaps into Classic picture following impressive win in Goodwood BC Handicap...Lido Palace will not be supplemented...Medaglia d'Oro in sharp 6-furlong work...Arrival schedule for Classic horses
With 36 victories going into the weekend's action, Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella won't list 2002 among his greatest years. But as it winds down, he'll have Sunday at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting to make it better.
Trainer Richard Mandella thinks he has a big chance with Pleasantly Perfect in Sunday's $500,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at 1 1/8 miles.
Victories last weekend by Came Home in the Pacific Classic and Medaglia d'Oro in the Travers, combined with War Emblem's sixth-place finish in the Pacific Classic, have tightened up the 3-year-old division, with the Eclipse Award now up for grabs.
Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem was reported in good shape this morning, following Tuesday's sizzling 5-furlong work in 57 3/5 seconds for Sunday's $1-million, grade I Pacific Classic.
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