Trainer claims four races at prestigious Breeders' Cup

Sunday, October 26, 2003

ARCADIA, Calif. -- A guy who wears a Panama hat around the racetrack stole the show at the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.

Trainer Richard Mandella completed the greatest day in racing history when his Pleasantly Perfect swept past the leaders in the stretch and won the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday.

Mandella, a quiet Californian who often works in the shadow of Bob Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas, also won the $1.5 Juvenile with Action This Day, the $1 million Juveniles with Halfbridled and his Johar deadheated with High Chaparral in the $2 million Turf.

But it was Pleasantly Perfect's stunning win in the Classic that had the crowd roaring at Santa Anita.

With favorite Medaglia d'Oro and Congaree locked in a stretch duel, Pleasantly Perfect charged past them on the outside and won by 1 1/2 lengths. Medaglia d'Oro finished second for the second year in a row. Dynever was third.

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide was never in contention and finished ninth in the 10-horse field. Defending champion Volponi, who ran the final race of his career, was last.

Pleasantly Perfect, ridden by Alex Solis, covered the 1 1/4 miles in 1:59.88 and returned $30.40, $9.60 and $6.60.

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