10/20/2012 2:27PM

Breeders' Cup Clocker Report: Mucho Macho Man sharp in five-furlong work over wet track

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Tom Keyser
Mucho Macho Man appears to be coming into the Breeders' Cup in top form for trainer Kathy Ritvo.

ELMONT, N.Y. – With the main track virtually under water and the training track rated as “muddy” when first opening at 5:30 a.m., workout activity Saturday at Belmont Park was limited to little more than a dozen horses.

Several potential Breeders’ Cup starters had scheduled workouts postponed as a result of the soggy conditions. But with the training track eventually being upgraded to “good” upon being harrowed following the second revovation break, trainer Kathy Ritvo saw little reason not to let her BC Classic contender Mucho Macho Man keep to his regular work routine. And the Suburban winner responded with a very strong move, indicating he continues to maintain the form that propelled him to a runaway victory in the Grade 2 Suburban and a close and troubled second-place finish behind To Honor and Serve in the Grade 1 Woodward in his last two starts.

Mucho Macho Man (five furlongs in 59.42 seconds): With regular exercise rider Nick Petro Jr. aboard, Mucho Macho Man broke off a couple of lengths behind stablemate Skinny Peter and relaxed nicely through an opening furlong in a leisurely 13.29 seconds. Mucho Macho Man picked up the pace noticeably once settling into the turn, readily overtaking his target with an 11.02 split from the half-mile to three-eighths pole. Kept out in the middle of the track by Petro down the stretch, Mucho Macho Man steadily widened his advantage while never being asked, completing his final quarter in 23.58 before galloping out six furlongs wide into the turn in 1:13.33.

[BREEDERS' CUP WORKOUTS: Full DRF coverage, Mike Welsch video reports]

Considering the nature of the racetrack, which still had a good deal of moisture in it at the time, this was a very solid work. After beginning with a slow opening eighth-mile, Mucho Macho Man came home his final half in 46.13 and did it easily while also showing a lot more affinity for a wet surface than he did when finishing far back in his only start over an off track in the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

“He’s feeling so good I really wanted to work him today if I could,” said Ritvo. “It was a good track for him. He likes a little water on the track. I think he was a little sharper this morning than in his first work here last week and breezing him over a little heavier track like this today should be good for him. He’ll get a little more out of the work. He’s coming up to his race really well.”

Petro, Mucho Macho Man’s regular exercise rider throughout the year, was also excited about the way his horse handled the track on Saturday.

“He went excellent. I couldn’t ask him to do any better,” said Petro. “I think he likes the surface here even better than the training track up at Saratoga, although he seems to handle pretty much anything. I feel like he’s much stronger now than he was back in Florida earlier this year. Maybe twice the horse he was back then. He’s really coming into himself. He used to be like a pony to ride but he’s a tough boy now.”

Ritvo said Mucho Macho Man will have one more five-furlong work over the Belmont training track before shipping to Santa Anita on Oct. 30.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: DRF top 10 lists, video replays, latest news]

Albert More than 1 year ago
Unless some European freakshow lands in the Classic, this is the horse to beat. The surface will likely favor his pressing style. See him sitting off Game on Dude and taking him in the stretch. Please give me 10-1 or better.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Good luck to both Mucho Macho Man and Kathy Ritvo in the BC Classic. It's been great to see the progression for 3M this year, and nice to see Kathy Ritvo enjoying training 3M. They have made an excellent team together. Hopefully, 3M will like Santa Anita. If he does, Kathy will have a very happy Breeders' Cup weekend.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Mucho Macho Man is a very nice horse period ! For all those who think that Game on Dude is a Single on a pic 6 ticket is crazy ! What about Ron the Greek ? I cant wait to see his ML when the entries come out . The only thing I would like to say to Ritvo is to slow MMM down in the mornings. We all know he is a fast horse just slow him down! Ron the Greek is your overlay on the BC Day Card. I do beleive he likes California and Santa Anitas surface. Ron the Greek $$$
Infinity More than 1 year ago
You have to love the price you will get on you got to be a macho man........fits on beyers,class.etc...best race of the entire card.
nick More than 1 year ago
I don't recall if the horse has raced at Santa Anita before, but if he has not raced there why would you not want to get a work in there to get acclimated to the place where you are going to race for the biggest purse of your career?
Babette Cade More than 1 year ago
Best of luck to a terrific horse and great connections. He's a grown up now!
Bryan Horn More than 1 year ago
winner winner chicken dinner