It Is No Place to Be Favored

Times Staff Writer

Pleasantly Perfect, who won the Breeders' Cup Classic last year as a longshot, was made the 3-1 favorite for this year's running by the Daily Racing Form after it was announced Wednesday that 13 horses were pre-entered.

Being favored in the Classic has been an unenviable position, especially in recent years. When Pleasantly Perfect, at 14-1, defeated Medagia d'Oro a year ago at Santa Anita, it was the sixth consecutive year that the favorite fell in the $4-million Classic, the Breeders' Cup's richest race. Skip Away, the last favorite to win, in 1997, was only the fifth horse to live up to his parimutuel play in 20 runnings of the Classic. The others were Cigar in 1995, A.P. Indy in 1992, Alysheba in 1988 and Ferdinand in 1987.

In four starts this year, Pleasantly Perfect has won the San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita, the Dubai World Cup and the Pacific Classic at Del Mar, and run second in the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar. It will be 68 days between races for the 6-year-old when he runs at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30, a layoff that doesn't seem to concern trainer Richard Mandella. The record layoff for a Classic winner belongs to Black Tie Affair, who was idle for 49 days before winning in 1991. Jerry Bailey, who rode Black Tie Affair, will ride Pleasantly Perfect in Texas.

Mike Watchmaker, who made the Breeders' Cup early line for the Racing Form, lists Ghostzapper as the 7-2 second choice. After him come Birdstone and Roses In May, both 6-1, and Funny Cide at 8-1.

Only 12 horses might run in the Classic if Michael Paulson, the owner of Azeri, chooses to run the 6-year-old mare in the $2-million Distaff, a race she won in 2002. Azeri could win a third consecutive division title with a Distaff victory, but she'd clinch a second horse-of-the-year title with a win in the Classic. She is a 6-5 favorite in the Distaff, but the co-seventh choice in the Classic at 12-1.

Paulson indicated that he and Wayne Lukas, Azeri's trainer, would make their decision in the next few days. Under Breeders' Cup rules, they must enter one race or the other when post positions are drawn Wednesday.

The Classic will complete an eight-race Breeders' Cup card worth $14 million. There were 101 horses pre-entered -- seven in more than one race -- which is the same total as last year. Since the Breeders' Cup expanded from seven to eight races in 1999, the other years have produced no fewer than 104 pre-entries.

Five of this year's horses have already won Breeders' Cup races. Besides Pleasantly Perfect and Azeri, the list includes Cajun Beat and Six Perfections, winners of last year's Sprint and Mile. The French filly Six Perfections, winless in three starts since Santa Anita, is one of 12 European horses running. Storm Flag Flying, winner of the 2002 Juvenile Fillies, will try to win the Distaff this time.

The other favorites are Nothing To Lose, 4-1 in the Mile; Kitten's Joy, 9-5 in the Turf; Ouija Board, 8-5 in the Filly & Mare Turf; Speightstown, 3-1 in the Sprint; Sweet Catomine, 5-2 in the Juvenile Fillies; and Roman Ruler, 2-1 in the Juvenile. Ouija Board, an English-bred filly, is also eligible for the Turf, in which she is the 5-2 second choice.

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Breeders' Cup Early Entries

The horses pre-entered for the eight-race Breeders' Cup card on Oct. 30 (10 a.m.-3 p.m., Ch. 4) at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. Also-eligible horses are listed in the order of eligibility. The post-position draw will be held Wednesday. The horse odds are provided by Daily Racing Form national handicapper Mike Watchmaker (Note: Listed purses do not include supplemental fees):

*--* DISTAFF

*--*

1 1/8 Miles, 3&Up; Purse: $2,000,000

Horse (Trainer)...Odds

Azeri (W. Lukas)...6-5

Storm Flag Flying (C. McGaughey)...5-1

Ashado (T. Pletcher)...6-1

Society Selection (H. A. Jerkens)...6-1

Island Fashion (M. Polanco)...10-1

Tamweel (W. Catalano)...12-1

Elloluv (C. Dollase)...20-1

Stellar Jayne (W. Lukas)...20-1

Nebraska Tornado (A. Fabre)...30-1

Bare Necessities (F. Kirby)...50-1

Hollywood Story (J. Shirreffs)...50-1

Indy Groove (T. Proctor)...50-1

*--* JUVENILE FILLIES

*--*

1 1/16 Miles, 2YO Fillies; Purse: $1,000,000

Sweet Catomine (J. Canani)...5-2

Sense of Style (P. Biancone)...4-1

Balletto (T. Albertrani)...6-1

Ready's Gal (T. Pletcher)...10-1

Culinary (M. Stidham)...12-1

Runway Model (B. Flint)...12-1

Sharp Lisa (D.O'Neill)...12-1

In the Gold (N. Zito)...15-1

Play With Fire (M. Hennig)...15-1

Dance Away Capote (H. G. Motion)...20-1

Sis City (R. Dutrow Jr.)...20-1

Enduring Will (A. Stall Jr.)...30-1

Higher World (M. Casse)...30-1

Mona Lisa (A. O'Brien)...30-1

Also eligible

Culture Clash (M. Polanco)...50-1

Quiet Honor (P. Capestro)...30-1

*--* MILE

*--*

1 Mile, Turf, 3&Up; Purse: $1,500,000

Nothing to Lose (R. Frankel)...4-1

Six Perfections (P. Bary)...5-1

Special Ring (J. Canani)...6-1

Whipper (R. Collet)...8-1

Artie Schiller (J. Jerkens)...10-1

Blackdoun (J. Canani)...12-1

Mr O'Brien (R. Graham)...12-1

Soaring Free (M. Frostad)...12-1

Diamond Green (A. Fabre)...15-1

Musical Chimes (N. Drysdale)...15-1

Silver Tree (W. Mott)...15-1

Singletary (D. Chaltos Jr.)...15-1

Antonius Pius (A. O'Brien)...30-1

Domestic Dispute (P. Gallagher)...30-1

Also eligible

Royal Regalia (J. Nixon)...30-1

Balto Star (T. Pletcher)...30-1

Honor in War (P. McGee)...50-1

Bowman's Band (H. A. Jerkens)...30-1

Freefourinternet (M. Maker)...50-1

*--* SPRINT

*--*

6 Furlongs, 3&Up; Purse: $1,000,000

Speightstown (T. Pletcher)...3-1

Midas Eyes (R. Frankel)...5-1

Cajun Beat (R. Frankel)...6-1

Clock Stopper (D. Stewart)...6-1

Kela (M. Mitchell)...8-1

Our New Recruit (J. Sadler)...8-1

Champali (G. Foley)...10-1

Gold Storm (C. Cascio)...15-1

Pt's Grey Eagle (C. Dollase)...20-1

Bwana Charlie (S. Asmussen)...30-1

Cuvee (S. Asmussen)...30-1

Domestic Dispute (P. Gallagher)...30-1

Abbondanza (T. Tullock Jr.)...50-1

My Cousin Matt (J. Mullins)...50-1

Also eligible

Bay Marvel (W. B. Calhoun)...50-1

*--* FILLY & MARE TURF

*--*

1 3/8 Miles, Turf, 3&Up; Purse: $1,000,000

Ouija Board (E. Dunlop)...8-5

Light Jig (R. Frankel)...5-1

Nebraska Tornado (A. Fabre)...8-1

Yesterday (A. O'Brien)...8-1

Riskaverse (P. Kelly)...10-1

Megahertz (R. Frankel)...12-1

Wonder Again (J. Toner)...12-1

Moscow Burning (J. Cassidy)...20-1

Stay Forever (M. Wolfson)...20-1

Aubonne (E. Libaud)...30-1

Film Maker (H. G. Motion)...30-1

Katdogawn (J. Cassidy)...30-1

Super Brand (K. McLaughlin)...30-1

Shaconage (M. Shirota)...50-1

*--* JUVENILE

*--*

1 1/16 Miles, 2YO C&G; Purse: $1,500,000

Roman Ruler (B. Baffert)...2-1

Proud Accolade (T. Pletcher)...5-2

Afleet Alex (T. Ritchey)...7-2

Consolidator (W. Lukas)...6-1

Sun King (N. Zito)...6-1

Scandinavia (A. O'Brien)...12-1

Wilko (J. Noseda)...20-1

Twice Unbridled (D. Jensen)...100-1

*--* TURF

*--*

1 1/2 Miles, Turf, 3&Up; Purse: $2,000,000

Kitten's Joy (D. Romans)...9-5

Ouija Board (E. Dunlop)...5-2

Powerscourt (A. O'Brien)...5-1

Magistretti (P. Biancone)...6-1

Star Over the Bay (M. Mitchell)...12-1

Better Talk Now (H. G. Motion)...20-1

Sarafan (N. Drysdale)...20-1

Balto Star (T. Pletcher)...30-1

Mustanfar (K. McLaughlin)...30-1

Request for Parole (S. Hough)...30-1

Strut the Stage (M. Frostad)...30-1

*--* CLASSIC

*--*

1 1/4 Miles, 3&Up; Purse: $4,000,000

Pleasantly Perfect (R. Mandella)...3-1

Ghostzapper (R. Frankel)...7-2

Birdstone (N. Zito)...6-1

Roses in May (D. Romans)...6-1

Funny Cide (B. Tagg)...8-1

Dynever (C. Clement)...10-1

Azeri (W. Lukas)...12-1

Perfect Drift (M. Johnson)...12-1

Newfoundland (T. Pletcher)...15-1

Fantasticat (B. Barnett)...30-1

Bowman's Band (H. A. Jerkens)...50-1

Freefourinternet (M. Maker)...50-1

Personal Rush (K. Yamauchi)...50-1

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