07/07/2012 5:23PM

Belmont Park: Smith shocked by ease of Mucho Macho Man's Suburban score

Barbara D. Livingston
Mucho Macho Man wins the Suburban by 2 1/2 lengths over Hymn Book.

ELMONT, N.Y. - As he walked back to the jockeys’ room following Saturday’s Grade 2 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park, jockey Mike Smith was equal parts ecstatic and shocked.

He was naturally happy that he won the $350,000 race aboard Mucho Macho Man, but he was stunned with the ease in which the 2 1/2-length victory was accomplished.

“I’m kind of shocked how impressed he was, you know,” said Smith, who was riding Mucho Macho Man for the first time. “You put that bunch in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, your favorite’s going to come out of that race.”

The way he ran Saturday, it might be Mucho Macho Man.

Stalking the pace-setting Trickmeister through six furlongs in 1:09.53, Mucho Macho Man made the lead turning into the stretch, then cruised to a 2 1/2-length victory over the late-running Hymn Book without feeling the leather of Smith’s whip. It was three lengths back to Trickmeister in third and another two lengths back to To Honor and Serve. Stay Thirsty, Buffum, and Endorsement completed the order of finish.

The final time for the 1 1/8 miles was a sharp 1:46.58. Mucho Macho Man returned $13.80 as the fourth choice.

“Believe me, he just ran them off their feet,” Smith said. “My horse was just better today - he really was.”

The win was the fourth from five starts for Mucho Macho Man since he returned to the races last fall after running in all three Triple Crown races last spring. It also enabled him to bounce back from a third-place finish in the Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 4.

“That horse, he comes to run every time,” winning trainer Kathy Ritvo said. “This horse loves to train, he loves to race, but now he knows how to win. Since we came back to Aqueduct [last fall] he gets it.”

One of the things that surprised Smith was how quick Mucho Macho Man was away from the gate. He actually broke on top, but was soon reined in by Smith to stalk Trickmeister before taking command turning for home.

“Every step was a winning one to be honest with you,” Smith said.

Ritvo, who trains the horse for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, said she was not concerned with Mucho Macho Man’s proximity to the pace despite the rapid fractions.

“He was running so easy you could tell his stride - he’s got that big, long, huge stride and he still had horse left,” Ritvo said. “He ran fabulous today. I’m so proud of him.”

Hymn Book finished second in the Suburban for the second straight year. He stumbled at the start under Alan Garcia and despite making a run, he never threatened the winner.

“He stumbled leaving the gate and got out of position, it wasn’t anybody’s fault,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “I don’t know why he did it. I had him over there and stood him the other day just so he wouldn’t break so hard. Where are you going to make up that much ground even though they were cooking.”

Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
sad bunch of older horses,i wonder by how much the likes of cigar,skip away,siphon,alysheba would beat these guys by,i say 10 lenghts.when your 2 top older horses are game on dude and mucho macho man its just sad.to honour and serve is about as gutless as a talented racehorse can be,hes never convinced me,most of the horses that populate the gr1 races these days are gr3 horses at best.and so are the jockeys,there are no pat days,jerry baileys, garry stevens ,chris mcarron,and others these joker like ramon domingues are overated and shifty.
Peter Siipola More than 1 year ago
so you are saying that they could go 1:44 and change?----get serious----MMM is right there, now that he has matured into a top older horse now----but you are on the $ withTHAS never has lived up to his hype----not once----MMM will dominate the rest of the year----just like BLAME did even though WE ALL know he was HOY without a trophy! and baffert has no stones since Game On Dude will not come east --- Will a Dan come to the Whitney? that should be a good one even without him!
Peter Siipola More than 1 year ago
What about Javier?
Paul_Tuon More than 1 year ago
News out of Europe: Black Caviar ended her quarantined today and is departing England (today) heading to her homeland, Australia. She'll arrive in 18 to 20 hours of fligh. Bon Voyage, Black ­Caviar!!!!!!!!­!!!!!!!
Paul_Tuon More than 1 year ago
Goody bye, and thanks for the memories!
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
Mucho macho man stamped his ticket to the Breeders Cup Classic with that performance.
Don Passidomo More than 1 year ago
Awesome I loved this guy way back in his KD days, so nice to see him mature and do what he is doing, wish I had bet more on him, stay healthy please!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kathy Ritvo absolutely deserves this.
Mike Rutledge More than 1 year ago
I think someone said that no way MMM would win this race & also that Mike Smith was a has been. Care to own up?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They wouldn't dare own up, the hypocrites.
prlyr4lyf More than 1 year ago
To Honor and Serve....served up another flop as chalk.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Mott said up front that his Colt needed one before The Whitney...
Alex More than 1 year ago
Haha he needs more than one!
Tom More than 1 year ago
Just another Mott over bet bum. I am waiting to making a killing when they over bet Royal Delta in her next start at Saratoga. Royal Delta is a big hype horse, not sure why but I'll take it.
Peter Siipola More than 1 year ago
You better hold your $ on that one
Peter Siipola More than 1 year ago
after the game on dude win why couldn't baffert be asked about his thoughts on MMM?----poorreporting i would say----not gonna ask the man about the cake walk his boys had?----that race is a grade 1? and the belmont race a grade 2----what a joke----the suburban field was the best assembled this year-----can anyone tell us a better one?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stephen Foster
bleck1022 More than 1 year ago
Met Mile?
Marcello Marocco More than 1 year ago
MET MILE???.....keep the speedsters there, we are talking about the Stayers!. My only concern with Mucho is he tends to run very strong at the tracks he is accustomed to. Gulfstream, and Belmont. When he got on the Churchill dirt he didn't handle it well, and unfortunately is 0-2 there, BUT with Santa Anita favoring speed, he could very well smash the Classic field and do it in fast style. I have to agree with Anonymous...the Stephen foster was a well assembled group of older horses. Ron The Greek/MMM/ The Dude/ Hymn Book, and Wise Dan all look to be quality BC Classic horses, and that is a pretty nice list of horses to add to the Classic line up. I see Mucho running the Whitney/JCGC then off to California early to train over the SA Dirt track, and get Acclimated.
Averie Levanti More than 1 year ago
So you're saying that one furlong separates a speedster from a stayer? For some horses this might be the case but not all. The Met Mile is eight furlongs while the Stephan Foster and Suburban are nine furlongs. I know very well that Shackleford could romp at nine furlongs. He won the Preakness by 9.5. He finished fourth in the DERBY at 10 furlongs and fifth in the Belmont at twelve. The Met Mile assembled the nation's best milers. In my opinion I don't think a miler is the same as a speedster. I believe a speedster is more around six furlongs. Mucho Macho Man won the Gulfstream Park Handicap at eight furlongs earlier this year so does that make him a speedster or a stayer since he won the Suburban also?? This is just my opinion that eight furlongs to nine furlongs doesn't determines a speedster from a stayer. The Met Mile and the Stephan Foster were both some of the year's best assembled races. Again this is my opinion. I don't believe a mile compared to a mile and an eighth race determines a speedster from a stayer. Shackleford has won at over nine furlongs and Mucho Macho Man has won at eight so does that make them a speedster and a stayer? Otherwise I agree with everything else you've said.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He'd only run once at Belmont, in the Belmont, and ran very poorly. I wouldn't say he was accustomed...
Rusty Hefner More than 1 year ago
Belmont field was definately Grade One quality, Hollywood Park...suspect except for the Dude.
Marcello Marocco More than 1 year ago
What do you mean Rusty that was a solid GR1 field in Hollywood.....Kettle Corn is a GR3 winner, and RK is a recent listed stakes winner.......... ;-)
KeenelandCapper More than 1 year ago
hgc was a very weak field but richards kid is a grade 1 winner and will win the pacific classic with ease for the 2nd time..
Jordan More than 1 year ago
That would be 3 Pacific Classics for Richard's Kid and 4 total grade 1s.
Peter Siipola More than 1 year ago
that race was a joke----to begin with the surface is what it is----and as jess jackson did do others are doing--not all mind you but many---stayin away from arti surfaces----dirt & turf are all that matter----that race went in 2:04+ ---- its just not the way it outta be---how many of you are with me here??---come on now!!
KeenelandCapper More than 1 year ago
mucho macho man still has yet to win a grade 1... and it is sickening that Mott chose to run flat out 2 turns at mon instead of suburban..
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Why isn't the Suburban run at 10 furlongs? Do all East Coast grade 1s for older horses, except for the Jockey Club Gold Cup, have too be run at 9 furlongs or shorter? The Suburban doesn't deserve grade 1 status after the cut in distance; either push the distance back up to 10 furlongs or do so with the Woodward. Otherwise, giving a 9 furlong Suburban grade 1 status would create a series of 3 summer grade 1s for older horses all at 9 furlongs(Suburban-Whitney-Woodward). C'mon, these are older males! Kelso must be rolling over in his grave. Is NYRA afraid that no one would enter if they ran more of these races at 10 furlongs? Sadly, there is likely some truth in this; the fact is the Suburban probably will draw better fields at 9 furlongs than it did in recent years as a grade 2 10 furlong race. However, giving in to this will only enforce the breeding industry's obsession with speed; card more 10+ furlong races and everyone will be forced to adjust. But if we keep shortening our once classic races, don't then cry about how few classic horses we have. Say what you will about California racing, but at least its tracks have the brass to keep its 3 big events for older males at the classic 10 furlong distance. Projecting forward to the Breeder's Cup, the Suburban field featured exactly one horse, Stay Thirsty, with a grade 1 win at 10 furlongs. Game on Dude now has 2 wins at that distance, and so does Richard's Kid.
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
at a mile and a quarter the Macho man still runs away from these horses. He's finally turned the corner. Just hope he doesn't burn out before the BC.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Maybe. We'll see. How many wins does Mucho Macho Man have at 10 furlongs?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Suburban is a Grade 2.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
I know the Suburban is a grade 2. I was responding to those, like Steven Crist, who suggested that with this "great field" the Suburban should be a grade 1. I was also responding to people who commented that the Suburban was more deserving of a grade 1 than the Hollywood Gold Cup. To wit, I responded with at least the Hollywood Gold Cup is at 10 furlongs, a classic distance, not some watered down 9 furlongs.
Peter Siipola More than 1 year ago
We could discuss this quandary forever---lets just play it as they put it in front of us---just don't listen to the moron "experts" who i love as they dictate that MMM paid almost 6-1---look at the show pool the race before that--those same guys said pretty much that the only one that had a shot to beat Agave Kiss was the 5---Case closed
Peter Siipola More than 1 year ago
these scale backs in distances are the fault of the buyers of yearlings who demand fast returns, so the breeders have put more speed into the matings don't you think? the real stayers are in Europe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Stephen Foster. The Met Mile. The Carter. The Sunshine Millions Classic. Arguably the Oaklawn Handicap.
Peter Siipola More than 1 year ago
and what happened to all the so called experts picks???---as soon as i heard that he was entered him i didn't even look at the form---i knew he was the pick-----what a price---now hes gonna be bet down---
Perl More than 1 year ago
Who were the clowns who bet thas down to 7-5? Ha.
ENAMMELD More than 1 year ago
You have to make those statements before the race is run not after to have any credibility.
MARC More than 1 year ago
It's the truth how do u bet to honor & serve @ 7/5?
Peter Siipola More than 1 year ago
why?---so he could be bet down to 3-1----i'll statement you!!
John More than 1 year ago
Actually she did say this before the race.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Credibility is not something I actively seek. However, it was painfully obvious that thas was a horrible bet at virtually any price lower than 5/1, given his propensity to fold up the tent whenever he doesn't have it his way on the front end. And you had to figure he was going to face the heat in this spot.
Jeris Guse More than 1 year ago
I threw him in the exacta, easiest money ever though. $2 ex, MMM, THAS, and Hymn Book. $12 to win over $72. I'll take that every week. Had a very tough time leaving Trickmeister out with such a good trainer and jockey, but am glad I did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You could have bet $12 to win on MMM for almost the same payout... Basically, don't box 3 horses in an exacta. THaS is a great bet! For other people...
Peter Siipola More than 1 year ago
$81.60 if ya bet the $12 to win on MMM
Wayne Haehner More than 1 year ago
well said Perl--again burnt cash for same dopes who had him in the Met Mile
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the score of the day was in the race prior - agave kiss had 331k bet on her in the show pool - bet the remaining 5 horses to show she ran off the board and was rewarded with payouts of 61-18 & 25 cha ching
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
The same clowns that did not read Mott's statement in this DRF that the Colt was gonna need a race...
Sam Shelby More than 1 year ago
And Bill Mott is the type of trainer that burns me up. If your horse isnt ready and you know it you're committing fraud. Like Ian Wilkes sends his 1st timers out for a pleasure Cruise. Fraud.