Pleasantly Perfect favorite in Classic

Oct. 27, 2004 at 7:54 PM
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GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Defending champion Pleasantly Perfect has been installed as the early favorite for Saturday's $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Lone Star Park.

The Classic is the richest of Saturday's eight Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship races to be run for the first time in Texas. The Breeders' Cup usually decides year-end honors among the top horses.

This year's edition features an unusually light representation of European-based horses, due in part to owners' and trainers' unfamiliarity with the first-time location of the event.

However, all eight championship races are highly competitive and the event long has been a sellout with more than 50,000 seats sold.

Pleasantly Perfect, who followed up his 2003 Classic victory by winning the Dubai World Cup this spring, drew post position No. 12 in a field of 13. "I wasn't really concerned about the post," said trainer Richard Mandella. He'll ease back in the early going and settle off the first flight of runners anyway."

Those were the tactics that brought victory last year in the 1 1/4-mile race.

Pleasantly Perfect was listed at 5-2 in the morning line following Wednesday's post position draw. Second choice on the line is Ghostzapper, a lightly raced, 4-year-old son of Awesome Again who has won four straight graded stakes. He drew the inside post position. Roses in May, another late-blooming 4-year-old, was posted at 5-1 odds off five straight wins.

Azeri, attempting to become the first female winner of the Classic in its 21st running, drew post No. 3 and was listed at 15-1 on the morning line.

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