Pleasantly Perfect, right, crosses the line to win as Medaglia D`oro follows at Nad Al Sheba.

Pleasantly Perfect, right, crosses the line to win as Medaglia D`oro follows at Nad Al Sheba.

AP/ Victor Romero

Pleasantly Perfect Outruns Medaglia d'Oro in World Cup

By Jason Ford
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, winner and runner-up, respectively, in the Breeders' Cup Classic- Powered by Dodge (gr. I) last year, with Mike de Kock's Victory Moon the only other horse being considred.

For once, the main protagonists had read the script and it was the South African Victory Moon who was a highly credible third, but only at a respectable distance as the American 'big guns' went 'head to head' down the straight.

Jerry Bailey, on Medaglia D'Oro, was never far off the pace set by compatriot Fleestreet Dancer and he went on as they turned into the straight where Pleasantly Perfect, on whom Alex Solis had been forced to ask a question a moment earlier, loomed up as a serious challenger. The pair were neck and neck for the majority of the last two furlongs until Solis' mount went on to repeat his Santa Anita win in the gamest of fashion by three-quarters of a length. It was five lengths farther back to Victory Moon.

In doing so, he ended his trainer's run of near misses in the race, which has included training the runner-up on three previous occasions and the horse ended any doubts regarding his well-being after he was forced to miss the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) which was meant to be his prep race for this.

Raced by Gerald Ford's Diamond A Racing Corporation, Pleasantly Perfect has won eight of 14 career starts and the $3.6 million first money in the World Cup pushed his bankroll to $6,399,880, sixth on the all-time list for North American horses.

Solis, successful in the sprint race earlier on the card, always looked as though he had the measure of his compatriot and ran out a fairly comfortable winner in the end.

Bred by Clovelly Farms, winning 6-year-old entire son of Pleasant Colony is a half-brother to Hurricane State, a group III winner in France, out of Regal State. The dam is a group 1 winner, also in France, by Affirmed and a half-sister to group 1 winner Seven Springs, herself the dam of group 1 winner Distant View.

The jockey was ecstatic: "It has been an amazing night – I would have been happy with one winner but to get two – at the world's richest race meeting – is unbelievable. You just dream of nights like this."

Mandella was relieved to have won the race – at last: "You do have to worry if you are destined not to win after three seconds but I knew this fellow had a great chance. He is a real class performer and when he drew level in the straight I thought we had every chance – he has passed Medaglia D'Oro before, remember. What a night!"

Straight after the race, UK bookmakers William Hill were offering odds of 9-2 on Pleasantly Perfect and 7-1 on Medaglia D'Oro for the 2004 Breeders' Cup Classic.

Time for the about 1 1/4-mile distance was 2:00 1/5, second-fastest in World Cup history.

Godolphin's Grande Hombre finished fourth. Domestic Dispute, part of the American contingent, ran sixth under Gary Stevens after tracking the pace and flattening out two furlongs from home. Fleetstreet Dancer, Jon Court aboard, weakened reaching the final furlong after setting a good pace for the opening mile to finish eighth in the 12-horse field.