01/02/2011 8:55PM

Fair Grounds: Machen sharp in debut win

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Three-year-old first-timer Machen hardly could have been any sharper winning race 9 for trainer Neil Howard. Machen broke last but quickly gained stalking position under Jamie Theriot, a late replacement for injured Robby Albarado. Machen moved to the leader approaching the top of the stretch and drew clear to win by five and one-half lengths. His six-furlong time of 1:10.41 was very fast for a racing surface that had been dull for days. If one were the fault-finding sort, they'd note that Machen didn't change leads until just before the wire, though Theriot seemed to try and get him to switch several times.

Machen is a son of Distorted Humor - Ready's Gal (More Than Ready) bred and owned by Courtlandt Farm. That's a route pedigree, but Howard, speaking to Fair Grounds publicity, wasn't trumpeting Machen's long-distance future. Howard described the colt as "a little bit short coupled, and maybe has more of a sprinting look to him," but did say he thought Machen should be able to get a middle distance.