01/28/2012 7:31PM

Gulfstream: Mucho Macho Man takes Sunshine Millions Classic

Barbara D. Livingston
Mucho Macho Man, with Ramon Dominguez riding, wins the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Mucho Macho Man has grown up.

The youngest horse in actual age on the Triple Crown trail last season, Mucho Macho Man gave every indication he will be a horse to reckon with in the handicap division as a 4-year-old after launching his season with an impressive 1 1/2-length victory over Ron the Greek in Saturday's $400,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Classic.

The Classic highlighted the six-race Florida Sunshine Millions program at Gulfstream Park that also featured an easy victory by Eclipse Award winner Awesome Feather in the Distaff.

Mucho Macho Man tripped out perfectly in the 1 1/8-mile Classic, stalking the pace of Turbo Compressor from the outset under jockey Ramon Dominguez. Mucho Macho Man overtook the leader near the quarter pole, quickly drew well clear, then maintained a safe advantage to the end. Mucho Macho Man completed the distance in 1:47.91 seconds, just .42 of a second off the track ready set by Quality Road two years earlier.

Ron the Greek turned in a strong effort to be second, overcoming a slow start and wide trip to finish a length in front of the tiring Turbo Compressor. They were followed by Duke of Mischief, the 8-5 favorite Adios Charlie, Decaf Again, and Dream Maestro.

Mucho Macho Man, a son of Macho Uno, is trained by Kathy Ritvo for the partnership of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team One Racing Stable. He paid $6.20.

"He's really matured and is a lot more serious now than he was last year," said Ritvo, who underwent successful heart transplant surgery just 15 months ago.

"Ramon is a great jockey. He gave him a perfect ride, and he ran a great race. He ran as hard as he could but had a little something left at the end. We've been very blessed with this horse. Very, very blessed."

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

"We'll see how he comes out of the race and then make another plan," said Ritvo.