11/12/2011 1:44PM

Calder: Ritvo avoids temptation to run Mucho Macho Man in Cigar Mile

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Mucho Macho Man wins his comeback race Wednesday at Aqueduct. He is going to skip the Cigar Mile and be pointed to races at Gulfstream Park in early 2012.

MIAMI – Mucho Macho Man’s 3-year-old campaign is over.

Despite the temptation to keep Mucho Macho Man in New York a little longer to try the Grade 1 Cigar Mile later this month at Aqueduct, trainer Kathy Ritvo has opted to bring the third-place finisher in this year’s Kentucky Derby back to his native Florida to prepare for his 4-year-old season. Mucho Macho Man was scheduled to board a van on Sunday and arrive at his winter home at Gulfstream Park the following day.

Mucho Macho Man returned from a five-month layoff with an extremely impressive 5 3/4-length allowance win going a mile earlier this week at Aqueduct. The outing was the first for Mucho Macho Man since the Belmont Stakes and his first start against older horses.

“He came out of the race great but we just don’t need to rush him right back,” said Ritvo. “The Cigar Mile comes up too quick. He just came back from a long layoff and we want to take care of him, do the right thing, and get him ready for next season.”

Ritvo said she has nothing picked out for Mucho Macho Man’s next start at the moment.

“Right now we have no specific plans for him,” said Ritvo. “We’ll get him acclimated to the weather, see how he trains and he’ll tell us when he’s ready. We have plenty of options here this winter and at some point we’ll all sit down and work out a schedule for him.”

Among the options this winter at Gulfstream Park are the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope going a mile on Jan. 14, the $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic at 1 1/8 miles on Jan. 28, the Grade 1 Donn Handicap, also at 1 1/8 miles, on Feb. 11, and the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap going a mile on March 10.

Jockey agent Joe Grande dies

A memorial service was held in the winner’s circle after training hours on Saturday for former trainer and jockey agent Joe Grande who died suddenly at age 52 last week.

Grande, who began his racing career as an assistant trainer for John Parisella, is survived by his wife Tracie, a former jockey, his son Anthony, 6, and daughter Donna, 19.

A second memorial service for Grande will be held at St. Joseph’s- St. Thomas Church in Staten Island, N.Y. at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19.