Updated on 09/16/2011 9:27AM

BC Countdown - Classic: Pleasantly Perfect out of Classic


ARCADIA, Calif. - Pleasantly Perfect, the winner of the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap at Santa Anita on Oct. 6, is out of the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 26 at Arlington Park because he is not in compliance with the rules for bleeders in Illinois.

Pleasantly Perfect was found to have bled from the nose after the Goodwood. Since he also bled last February in a workout, he is considered a second-time offender under Illinois rules and cannot start there for 30 days from the occurrence, preventing his participation in the Breeders' Cup.

His situation underscores the problems created by varying medication rules from one state to the next.

If the incident had occurred in 2003, when the Breeders' Cup will be held at Santa Anita, Pleasantly Perfect might have been able to start in the Classic. Under California guidelines, horses go on a 14-day veterinarian's list if they bleed for the first time while on Lasix, according to state veterinarian B. William Bell.

Lasix, a diuretic, is commonly used to treat horses that bleed from the lungs.

Horses can be removed from the veterinarian's list in California if they work five furlongs in 1:03 or faster and do not show signs of bleeding, Bell said, emphasizing that these are guidelines and are not included in California's formal rules.

Pleasantly Perfect was found to have bled while he was cooling out in the receiving barn after the Goodwood. It was the first time that he was found to have bled after a race, according to trainer Richard Mandella. Pleasantly Perfect is currently on the 14-day veterinarian's list in California, a span that ends Oct. 20.

Mandella said he learned that Pleasantly Perfect was considered banned for 30 days in Illinois when he asked Illinois officials about the conditions for getting Pleasantly Perfect removed from the list. At the time, Mandella said, he thought the 14-day list would apply in Illinois.

Since the Breeders' Cup operates under the rules of the host state, Illinois rules have precedence over California's guidelines. "Our hands are tied," said Pamela Blatz-Murff, senior vice-president for Breeders' Cup operations.

Mandella said on Monday that Pleasantly Perfect "did not run like he bled" on a warm day in the Goodwood and has shown no signs of bleeding in subsequent exercise.

"We X-rayed his lungs, and they were clean," he said. "We think he might have hit his head on something. Maybe it was a phenomenon of the heat."

In Florida, where the Breeders' Cup has been held three times, state rules prohibit a horse from running within 14 days of a diagnosis of bleeding. If the horse then displays a significant flow of blood from both nostrils within three hours of a race again, the horse is banned for 30 days.

Further instances merit a six-month ban and then a permanent ban from racing in Florida.

In New York, which has held the Breeders' Cup four times, the rules ban a horse for 10 days on the first instance, 30 days on the second, and 90 days on the third. The horse receives a one-year ban on the fourth episode.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners, a trade group representing racetrack veterinarians, is reviewing its recommendations for restrictions placed on bleeders, according to Sally Baker, a spokeswoman. Model rules approved in 1993 called for a first-time bleeder to be banned for 10 days, a second-time bleeder for 20 days, and a third-time bleeder for 60 days, Baker said. According to the model rules, any horse that bleeds more than three times would not be allowed to race unless the official veterinarian, "in consultation with the practicing veterinarian and the trainer," gave the okay.

Pleasantly Perfect, a 4-year-old colt by Pleasant Colony, is owned by Gerald Ford's Diamond A Racing Corporation. The Goodwood was his first stakes victory, and he was considered a rising star in the handicap division. Now that the colt is ineligible for the Breeders' Cup, Mandella said Pleasantly Perfect would not start for the rest of the year.

"We'll forget this and give him a rest," Mandella said. "We'll plan for next year and look at the Santa Anita Handicap or the Dubai World Cup."

Monday, Mandella flew to Kentucky to participate in a two-day conference conducted by the AAEP on the subject of uniform medication rules. He was scheduled to attend the conference before the Pleasantly Perfect situation occurred.

"This kind of points out the problem," he said. "The rules need to be the same everywhere."

- additional reporting by Matt Hegarty