01/18/2014 6:27PM

Gulfstream Park: Mucho Macho Man cruises in Sunshine Millions Classic

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Barbara D. Livingston
Mucho Macho Man and jockey Gary Stevens win the Sunshine Millions Classic by 14 lengths Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Mucho Macho Man got paid $240,000 for a public workout Saturday at Gulfstream Park, kicking off his 2014 campaign by cruising to a very popular 14-length victory over Joshua’s Comprise and four other overmatched rivals in the $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic.

The victory came in Mucho Macho Man’s first start since his game win over Will Take Charge in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic. The performance also made amends for what transpired in last year’s Sunshine Millions Classic, in which Mucho Macho Man was pulled up as the 2-5 favorite after failing to handle a sloppy racetrack.

With jockey Gary Stevens aboard, Mucho Macho Man rated off the early pace of Bernie the Maestro, who set very honest fractions of 23.08 and 46.25 seconds for the opening half-mile of the 1 1/8-mile Sunshine Millions Classic. Mucho Macho Man readily overtook the leader midway on the second turn, quickly opened a commanding advantage while racing well out from the rail, then steadily increased his lead with Stevens merely riding him out to the wire. 

Joshua’s Comprise was easily second-best, finishing 1 3/4 lengths in front of his uncoupled stablemate, Decaf Again. Bernie the Maestro was a tiring fourth, followed by Gourmet Dinner and Rule Number Six.

[Clocker Reports: Get Mike Welsch’s clocker reports from Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows]

Mucho Macho Man is owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and trained by Kathy Ritvo. He completed the distance in 1:48.76 and paid just $2.20 for his ninth victory in 24 starts. The $240,000 winner’s share of the purse increased Mucho Macho Man’s lifetime earnings to $5,580,410. 

“It was great; it was a lot of fun,” Ritvo said. “It was good to get him back. We put him in this race because he was ready to run. We really didn’t know who would be in the race. It’s always nice to win at home, and this is our home.”

Ritvo said no decision has been made as to when or where Mucho Macho Man might run next, although stable manager Finn Green mentioned the Santa Anita Handicap and Dubai World Cup as possible options.