04/02/2003 12:00AM

Pleasantly Perfect won't run


ARCADIA, Calif. - Pleasantly Perfect, the winner of the Goodwood Handicap last fall, will miss Saturday's $150,000 San Bernardino Handicap at Santa Anita because of a bruised foot, trainer Richard Mandella said.

The San Bernardino would have been Pleasantly Perfect's third start of the meeting, following a third-place finish in the San Antonio Handicap on Feb. 2 and a fourth in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 1.

The injury is to the right front foot.

"It's got a pulse," Mandella said of the bruise. "You can feel the blood going through it. I'm pretty sure it's a bruise."

Mandella said the 5-year-old Pleasantly Perfect will be redirected to the upcoming Hollywood Park meeting, with the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 13 as a goal. Later this year, Mandella is hoping that Pleasantly Perfect will start in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita in October.

"It's no big deal," he said of the bruise. "It's not the end of the world. If it happened in October it would be a little worse."

There are eight horses entered for the San Bernardino Handicap, which is run at 1 1/8 miles. Wooden Phone, the winner of the 2001 Strub Stakes and 2002 San Pasqual Handicap, makes his first start in 15 months. A 6-year-old, Wooden Phone is trained by Bob Baffert and has worked well in recent weeks after returning from a shoulder injury.

"There are no other places to run," Baffert said. "I've got to give it a shot."

$1 million guaranteed pick six

The San Bernardino, Saturday's 10th race, is one of two stakes supporting the Santa Anita Derby. The 11-race program features a guaranteed pick six pool of $1 million. The Santa Anita Derby is the sixth race, the first leg of the pick six.

The day's first stakes is race 4, the $100,000 Las Cienegas Handicap for fillies and mares at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course. The Las Cienegas field includes Repository, Brocky's Dream, and Paga, the first three finishers in the Winter Solstice Stakes on March 12; and Heat Haze, a winner of an optional claimer on Dec. 27 in her first start in this country.

Aside from the Santa Anita Derby and San Bernardino Handicap, the other legs of Saturday's pick six are three turf races and one sprint on the main track.

The seventh race is a $56,000 allowance race at a mile on turf, which is followed by an optional claimer at 6 1/2 furlongs on dirt. The ninth race is a $35,000 to $40,000 claimer on the hillside turf course that drew 13 runners. In the 11th race, there are 14 3-year-old maidens entered in a one-mile turf race that will be limited to 12 starters.

Ballingarry tries shorter distance

An illness earlier this year prevented Ballingarry from being ready for the 12-furlong San Luis Rey Handicap on March 15. Instead, the turf marathoner is dropping back in distance to 1 1/8 miles for Sunday's $150,000 Arcadia Handicap.

Last year, Ballingarry was best racing over the European classic distance of 1 1/2 miles on turf. Ballingarry would seem to be at a disadvantage in the shorter Arcadia, but trainer Laura de Seroux insists the 4-year-old colt has changed in recent months.

"The distance is perfect," she said. "He's shown more speed than we would have thought by his European form. That happens when they have time to acclimatize. He's a horse that can sustain a pretty good pace."

Last year while trained by Aidan O'Brien, Ballingarry won the Grade 1 Canadian International at Woodbine and the Group 2 Prix Noailles in France. He was second in the Italian Derby and third in the Irish Derby and Irish St. Leger, all Group 1 races.

Ballingarry finished seventh in the Breeders' Cup Turf. De Seroux began training Ballingarry after the Canadian International in late September, sending members of her staff to France to oversee the colt's preparation.

In the Arcadia, Ballingarry faces a solid field expected to include Blue Steller, Century City, Decarchy, Gondolieri, Mananan McLir, Night Life, Passinetti, and Sunday Break.

Going straight to the Oaks

Santa Catarina, the winner of an allowance race on March 12 in her only start of 2003, will be trained up to the Kentucky Oaks on May 2, trainer Bob Baffert said.

Last year, Santa Catarina placed in three stakes, finishing second in the Del Mar Debutante and Frizette Stakes and third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

"She runs better fresh and I would have had to ship her and run her," Baffert said, explaining his decision. "She bled the other day. I've worked her back twice and she hasn't bled. Now, she looks awesome."

Santa Catarina is Baffert's best hope for the Kentucky Oaks, after Composure was retired last month.

Less spent on derby TV spots

Santa Anita is spending roughly half of what it did last year on television advertising for this year's Santa Anita Derby, and is targeting a more specific audience, according to Stuart Zanville, the track's director of marketing and public relations.

This year's spots are being shown only on cable, which has a smaller audience than broadcast television. The costs of advertising on cable, however, are cheaper.

"We miss the reach that over-the-air gives, but we're getting to our target audience," Zanville said Wednesday. "We're all over ESPN and other cable buys, like Fox Sports Net."

Zanville said Santa Anita's advertising in newspapers and for direct mail is exactly the same as for last year's Santa Anita Derby.

Santa Anita this year had its smallest attendance ever for the Santa Anita Handicap. Extra advertising dollars for print and radio were budgeted for the inaugural Sunshine Millions, which was run in January.

* The forecast for Saturday has improved in recent days. While rain was mentioned in the long-range forecast last weekend, the current forecast is for temperatures in the mid-60's with partly cloudy conditions.

* In addition to riding During in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 12, Gary Stevens also will ride Congaree if he runs in the Carter Handicap that day. Stevens will be at Keeneland the following day to ride Crafty C.T. in the Commonwealth Handicap at Keeneland, according to his agent, Craig O'Bryan.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman