01/06/2012 2:41PM

Gulfstream: Mucho Macho Man gets in his workout

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Tom Keyser
Mucho Macho Man is scheduled to make his 2012 debut in the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Six days after having to pull up an eighth of a mile into his last scheduled work because of an accident on the racetrack, Mucho Macho Man returned to breeze an easy five furlongs in 1:03.21 shortly after dawn on Friday.

With exercise rider Nick Petro Jr. aboard, Mucho Macho Man posted fractions of 25.96 and 37.98 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and three-eighths before galloping out six furlongs in 1:18.22. Mucho Macho Man, who finished third in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, will make his 2012 debut on Jan. 28 in the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic.

“He went perfectly,” said trainer Kathy Ritvo. “We just wanted him to go easily and finish nicely, and that’s exactly what he did. He went a little too fast in his first work here, but he was feeling good not having breezed in a while, and when he goes short he tends to take off. Today he was nice and relaxed, and that’s all we’re trying to do now, get the relaxed back into him.”

Ritvo said she’s not concerned about having essentially to miss a work because of the unforeseen circumstances here last Saturday.

“Missing the work is not a problem, because I always allow time for an extra work in my schedule when pointing for a big race like this,” said Ritvo. “He’s right on schedule now.”

Ritvo said Ramon Dominguez, who guided Mucho Macho Man to an impressive allowance victory in his 3-year-old finale, will be down to ride him again in the Classic.

Mucho Macho Man was the second of a handful of big-name horses to breeze here on a busy Friday morning, along with Trickmeister, Boys At Tosconova, Soaring Empire. and Will’s Wildcat.

Trickmeister worked in the dark, breezing an easy five furlongs in 1:01 as he continues to prepare for the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 11. His stablemate Boys At Tosconova went out after the first break, cruising an easy half-mile in 50.83 seconds.

Soaring Empire was the last of the group to work. Breaking off a couple of lengths behind his regular partner, Le Bon Ton Rule, with jockey Julien Leparoux aboard, Soaring Empire posted fractions of 23.71 and 35.48 seconds for three furlongs before completing an easy half-mile about a half-length in front of his mate in 47.01. Soaring Empire galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.26 in preparation for next Saturday’s Grade 3 Hal’s Hope.

Will’s Wildcat, pacesetter in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap, breezed a sharp six furlongs in 1:14.86 from the five-furlong pole under jockey Calvin Borel.

Miss Netta perseveres

Miss Netta didn’t get off to a very good start in Thursday’s allowance feature for 3-year-old fillies, but the way she finished had trainer Kiaran McLaughlin all smiles after the race.

Miss Netta broke a couple of lengths behind her field, then settled at the rear of the pack under jockey Rajiv Maragh, angled wide while unleashing a steady rally midway on the final turn before wearing down The Cat’s All That to post her second win in four career starts. The outing was the first for Miss Netta since finishing sixth following a similarly unlucky beginning in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

“I thought she was very impressive the way she won today,” said McLaughlin who trains Miss Netta for Everett Dodson. “We worked with her at the gate in the mornings at Palm Meadows and thought we had the problem taken care of using the Monty Roberts blanket. Rajiv said she kind of hit herself two or three jumps out of the gate.”

McLaughlin described the Monty Roberts blanket as “kind of a security blanket” for horses with gate issues because it prevents them from touching the sides of the gate when loaded.

“We wanted to find a prep race to get her back in the winner’s circle, and things worked out well after the start, but she can’t do that kind of thing in graded stakes and get away with it like she did today,” said McLaughlin.

Gentlemen's bet in a runaway

Miss Netta was the second impressive-looking winner on Thursday’s card. The first was Gentlemen’s Bet, who ran away from a highly touted field of 3-year-olds in her debut for owner Harry Rosenblum and trainer Wayne Catalano, leading throughout to post an easy 7 1/4-length victory under Joe Rocco Jr. Gentlemen’s Bet was given a Beyer Speed Figure of 89 for the effort.

“I knew this horse had some ability, and I was also sure he’d be in front if he broke well, although I was a bit concerned when he drew the inside post,” Catalano said immediately after the race. “The only things that really surprised me today were how easily he won and that he was 30-1."

Gentlemen’s Bet, a son of Half Ours, paid $69.80 to win.

“I’ve had this colt for six months,” said Catalano. “He went a quarter-mile in 22 and change the first time he worked for me, but then he got sick, so I just forgot about him for a while. I had him ready to run at the end of the Churchill Downs meet but he got on the also eligible list and the track was muddy that day so I had to scratch him.”

Catalano said he’s not sure where he will run Gentlemen’s Bet next.

“He might turn out to be all right,” said Catalano, who won the Grade 3 Old Hat Stakes here last weekend with Sacristy. “He was only about 80-percent ready today, so I think he’ll stretch out. I’ll see how he comes out of this race first before I start to look for something else.”

Gentlemen’s Bet’s victory also sparked an investigation into the pick-three payoff that concluded with the eighth race. A sequence that also included the 9-2 Water of Life in the sixth race and 23-1 Matt’s a Giant in the seventh returned a mere $246.60 for $1. The $2 Matt’s a Giant and Gentlemen’s Bet daily double paid $1,270.60.

The mutuel department later confirmed that one unidentified person, betting in Canada, played a $110 part wheel singling Water of Life with ”all” in the seventh race with Gentlemen’s Bet and runner-up Nonno’s Boy in the eighth. The $1,980 investment returned more than $15,530 of the total pool of $34,767 wagered on that particular pick-three sequence.