Trainer Kathy Ritvo was ebullient during training hours Sunday morning at Fair Grounds, and with good reason. That's because late Saturday afternoon her sophomore colt MUCHO MACHO MAN (Macho Uno), owned by a multiple partnership of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team One Racing, had established himself as a legitimate candidate for the Kentucky Derby (G1) 11 weeks away by winning the Risen Star S. (G2) at Fair Grounds.
"He came out great," Ritvo said. "It was great to see him get back to two turns; he really needed that. I was really happy overall. (Jockey) Rajiv (Maragh) said he had a lot of horse left, too.
"The horse is doing really well this morning, and I slept really well last night. Watching the race on the TV down in the winner's circle yesterday, I was just so excited I started rooting very hard the last part of the race, but at least I was quiet for awhile."
Ritvo said that Mucho Macho Man would return to his home base at Gulfstream sometime Monday morning.
Will Mucho Macho Man return to Fair Grounds for the March 26 Louisiana Derby (G2) -- the richest Thoroughbred race ever run in the Pelican State when it carries a $1 million purse for the first time in its 98-year history?
"We're not sure, yet," Ritvo said. "We'll talk things over for a few days before we decide for sure, but it's certainly a possibility. Everyone here at Fair Grounds has treated us very well since we got here, and we all really appreciate that.
"We're going to see how he comes back before we make plans," Ritvo said, adding, "I would love to stay home for the (April 3) Florida Derby (G1)."
Dean Reeves, one of the principal owners standing next to Ritvo outside the Fair Grounds barn Sunday morning, was looking for a good local place near the track to go and have a nice brunch, and if he followed the recommendation he and his group were given, chances are good that the group will want to come back in five weeks to go there again.
In another Risen Star postscript, Just for Fun Stable's DECISIVE MOMENT (With Distinction), who set the pace before weakening to fifth at the wire, came out of the race with a slight soft tissue injury to the left hind, trainer Juan Arias said Sunday morning as he hosed down the sensitive area.
"It's nothing very serious; we should be able to get it cleared up fairly quickly," Arias said. "We'll be taking him back to Florida in a couple of days."
Later Sunday morning, Decisive Moment's jockey Kerwin Clark described how the race was run.
"He's a better horse than the way he ran yesterday," Clark said. "Things were going along fine but when the others started coming to him, he bobbled a little bit and after that things didn't go quite as well for us. But he didn't quit on me. He still only got beat five or six lengths."
Also at Fair Grounds Saturday, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider's BIND (Pulpit) stamped himself as a three-year-old to watch when winning the 3RD race by 9 1/2 lengths. Making a splashy career debut for trainer Al Stall Jr., he registered the fastest six-furlong time of 1:08 4/5 recorded this season at Fair Grounds.
"I'm not sure whether his next race will be here or in Kentucky," Stall said Sunday morning.