MUCHO MACHO MAN (Macho Uno), a leading contender for this year's Kentucky Derby (G1), breezed four furlongs at Gulfstream Park Saturday under exercise rider Mike Heera. Mucho Macho Man was clocked in :48 2/5 in preparation for a start in the Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds on March 26. It was the eighth fastest clocking of 32 recorded at the distance.
"He went great. It was just what we wanted," said trainer Kathy Ritvo, who was particularly pleased with the manner in which Mucho Macho Man finished during the work. "He's been great, super, just like his old self. He's come out of his race very well."
Mucho Macho Man, who concluded his 2010 campaign with a pair of runner-up finishes behind To Honor and Serve (Bernardini) in the Nashua S. (G2) and Remsen S. (G2), began his three-year-old campaign with a fourth-place finish in the Holy Bull S. (G3) at Gulfstream on January 30.
The Florida-bred colt rebounded impressively with a 1 1/2-length triumph in the Risen Star S. (G2) on February 19 at Fair Grounds, where he negotiated the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:43 4/5. His professional performance, in which he relaxed just off the early pace while racing without blinkers for the first time, prompted Ritvo to schedule the 1 1/8-mile Louisiana Derby as Mucho Macho Man's final Kentucky Derby prep.
"I think the distance will be good for him. I think he likes the track and definitely the two turns," said Ritvo, who will work her colt two more times before shipping to Fair Grounds in the middle of Louisiana Derby week. "He's definitely more mature than he was when we were back in New York."
Mucho Macho Man will be ridden again by Rajiv Maragh, who was a last-minute replacement in the Risen Star for regular rider Eibar Coa, who was hospitalized with a broken C4 vertebra in a racing spill at Gulfstream the day before the race. The colt's majority owner Dean Reeves visited Coa in Memorial Regional Hospital Friday to present him with a check for $18,000, the amount of the winning jockey's share of the Risen Star purse.
Mucho Macho Man's success has been a career highlight for his trainer, Kathy Ritvo, who received a heart transplant in November 2008.
"It's amazing; it's amazing; it's amazing," Ritvo said. "Every day is a great day to have my health and have a good horse. I'm so blessed, so lucky."
Mucho Macho Man was joined on the Gulfstream work tab by ROGUE ROMANCE (Smarty Jones), who is also scheduled to run in the Louisiana Derby. The Ken McPeek-trained colt, who closed to finish third behind the Ritvo trainee in the Risen Star, breezed four furlongs in :48 3/5.
The McPeek-trained KATHMANBLU (Bluegrass Cat), who will accompany Rogue Romance to Louisiana to run in the Fair Ground Oaks (G2) the same day, breezed four furlongs in :50 4/5. Kathmanblu, who captured the Sweetest Chant S. over the Gulfstream turf on January 22, captured the Rachel Alexandra S. (G3) at Fair Grounds on February 19.