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 $250,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita. Pleasantly Perfect hasn't run since Oct. 6, when he won the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Oak Tree by 3 ¼ lengths. The son of the late Pleasant Colony was scheduled to run in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Arlington Park Oct. 26, but missed the race because he wasn't designated as a bleeder, according to the medication rules of the Illinois racing board.But that's all behind him. Mandella believes he has Pleasantly Perfect ready to run a strong race on Sunday, a 1 1/8-mile handicap for older horses, the last major local prep before the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) on March 1."He's looking great," Mandella said of the Diamond A Racing Corporation-owned 5-year-old. "I think he's in fantastic shape. I'm looking for a big race. He's grown up and he's a professional now and he can do whatever you ask him."Pleasantly Perfect has had nine races in his career, but none has been shorter than one mile. Progeny of Pleasant Colony, the 1981 Kentucky Derby winner, are not known for their speed, but Pleasantly Perfect has two bullet workouts on his tab leading up to the San Antonio."It's a sign that he's doing awfully well," Mandella said. "His win in the Goodwood last year was as good as any race I saw last year. Hopefully, we can come back to that." Pleasantly Perfect has a 4-2-0 record from nine starts, with earnings of $479,880. He has two wins and two seconds in four starts at Santa Anita.
Probable for the San Antonio: Congaree, Jerry Bailey; Milwaukee Brew, Edgar Prado; Piensa Sonando, Laffit Pincay Jr.; and Pleasantly Perfect, Alex Solis. Possible: Cottage, no rider.