Friday, November 16, 2001
Updated: November 19, 7:57 AM ET
Mr. Pleasentfar still impoving, but wins Red Smith
By David Grening
Daily Racing Form
JAMAICA, N.Y. -- In a field full of horses past their prime, the up-and-coming Mr.
Pleasentfar may be coming into his.
Mr. Pleasentfar, a 4-year-old Brazilian-bred, was swung five wide by Jose Santos
entering the stretch and ran down favorite Eltawaasul inside the sixteenth pole to
win Saturday's $150,000, Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap by three-quarters of a
length before 8,282 at Aqueduct. Eltawaasul, who dueled early with longshot
Serazzo, held second, a nose ahead of Regal Dynasty.
It was the second consecutive win for Mr. Pleasentfar, who was purchased in March
by Raja Malek in partnership with breeder Haras Garcez Castellano.
A Group 1 winner in Brazil, Mr. Pleasentfar came to trainer Marty Wolfson in the
spring. Although Wolfson knew Mr. Pleasentfar preferred longer distances, Wolfson
ran him three times at 1 1/16 miles or shorter. It wasn't until last month's Flying
Pidgeon Handicap, at 1 3/8 miles, that Wolfson ran him long, and Mr. Pleasentfar
responded with a neck victory under Santos.
As good as Mr. Pleasentfar was that day, Santos said he was "a completely
different horse" on Saturday.
"He looked nicer, he was handing the course real well," Santos said. "He ran like a
Santos said Mr. Pleasentfar lugged in during the Flying Pidgeon and that he wanted
to secure inside position early in Saturday's race. Straightening away down the
stretch the first time, Santos had Mr. Pleasentfar on the rail and in sixth position
behind dueling leaders Eltawaasul and Serazzo, who ran six furlongs in 1:16.37.
Entering the final turn, Santos advanced Mr. Pleasentfar to the leaders and he
swung him five wide turning for home. Although Eltawaasul was able to shake
Serazzo by that point, he could not hold off Mr. Pleasentfar, who covered the 1 3/8
miles over a firm turf course in 2:16.94. He returned $20.20.
"He's very underrated," Wolfson said from Florida, where he watched the race at
Calder. "When I had him at Calder they didn't know who he was. He had really
shown a lot and then started getting better and better and better. And he's got an
advantage because he can lay close and still kick when they're going such a slow
pace. It puts horses like Cetewayo and Gritty Sandie at a disadvantage."
Cetewayo, last year's Red Smith winner, finished last. Williams News and Gritty
Sandie, the second- and third-place finishers from the 1999 Red Smith, finished
fifth and 11th, respectively.
Jockey John Velazquez, the rider of Eltawaasul, said his horse was never able to
relax during the race.
Mr. Pleasentfar was scheduled to return to Florida on Tuesday and will probably
make his next start in the $150,000, Grade 2 William McKnight Handicap at Calder
on Dec. 29.