MUCHO MACHO MAN (Macho Uno) will head back to New Orleans from his Gulfstream Park home base to run in the Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 26, trainer Kathy Ritvo confirmed Thursday morning. The bay colt will be returning to the site of his Risen Star S. (G2) victory over the Fair Grounds oval on February 19.

Mucho Macho ManThe Louisiana Derby, centerpiece event of the Fair Grounds racing season, will carry a $1 million purse for the first time in its 98-year history this year and become the richest Thoroughbred race ever run in New Orleans. (Photo Courtesy of Alexander Barkoff/Hodges Photography)

"Yes, we're coming back," Ritvo said. "Mucho Macho Man seemed to love the track at Fair Grounds, so there's no reason not to come back. The horse is doing great and we're all looking forward to coming back to New Orleans.

"We'll probably arrive in the middle of the week like we did last time, and I'll be flying on the plane with him," Ritvo concluded.

Mucho Macho Man opened his stakes account with a pair of runner-up finishes behind To Honor and Serve (Bernardini) in last season's Nashua S. (G2) and Remsen S. (G2) at Aqueduct. Heading south for the winter to Florida, he made his sophomore bow in the January 30 Holy Bull S. (G3) at Gulfstream Park prior to earning a first stakes score in the Risen Star last out.

Also returning for the Louisiana Derby out of the Risen Star will be ROGUE ROMANCE (Smarty Jones), whom trainer Ken McPeek confirmed for the race earlier this week. Last year's Bourbon S. (G3) winner has now finished third in both of his dirt starts, the Risen Star and the November Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).