11/23/2014 8:15PM

Big Macher refuses to lose in Cary Grant

Benoit & Associates
Big Macher (right) and jockey Rafael Bejarano hold off Rousing Sermon and Elvis Trujillo to win the $100,000 Cary Grant Stakes.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Every journey begins with a first step, and the first step for Big Macher on Sunday was an important one. In his prior start, he had stumbled at the start of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, effectively eliminating his chances in the 14-horse field. But when he came out of the gate smoothly on Sunday at Del Mar in the $100,000 Cary Grant Stakes, his rivals were in trouble.

Big Macher might not be the most talented horse, though he’s not far off amongst sprinters. What he is, though, is relentlessly tenacious. He was hounded throughout the seven-furlong race, but when the shadow of the wire loomed, Big Macher stuck out that big bay neck and would not be denied.

Big Macher ($4.80), the favorite, held off a race-long challenge from Rousing Sermon and prevailed by a neck in the Cary Grant. Patriots Rule rallied from last in the six-horse field to finish third, 1 1/4 lengths behind Rousing Sermon.

Red Outlaw, unbeaten in six prior starts, had no excuse while finishing fourth. Magic Mark and Celebrity Status completed the finish. Got Even and Soi Phet were scratched.

Big Macher completed the distance on Polytrack in 1:21.81 after setting or attending fractions of 23.03 seconds, :45.60, and 1:09.46.

“He has so much heart. You can’t train that,” said his trainer, Richard Baltas.

“It’s vindication for the horse,” said Baltas, who has developed Big Macher from a $20,000 maiden claimer into a Grade 1 winner. “You didn’t get to see him in the Breeders’ Cup.”

In the weeks since, Baltas had taken Big Macher to the gate, per usual, to school him, but also threw in a workout from the gate with new rider Rafael Bejarano.

“We had been working with the horse because of the bad break in the Breeders’ Cup,” Bejarano said.

Big Macher broke alertly, but Rousing Sermon went with him right from the start, and the two volleyed for the lead throughout. Rousing Sermon poked his head in front passing the furlong pole, but Big Macher came back along the rail under Bejarano to win.

Bejarano won four races Sunday.

The victory was the sixth in 14 lifetime starts for Big Macher, whose biggest win came in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby here during the summer. The Cary Grant, known as the On Trust when it was run at Hollywood Park, is restricted to California-breds. This was the first time Big Macher had dipped into state-bred ranks since January.

Big Macher, a 4-year-old gelding by Beau Genius out of the Kris S. mare Insight, is owned by Tom Mansour and the Tachycardia Stables of Brendan Bakir.

Baltas said Big Macher would get a rest now and return during the winter meeting at Santa Anita.