01/13/2012 3:48PM

Gulfstream Park: Mucho Macho Man gears up for return

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Barbara D. Livingstion
Mucho Macho Man trains Dec. 31 at Gulfstream. He is targeting the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The local handicap division is as strong as it’s been in years this winter, and many of the stars were out for some major work both locally and up the highway at Palm Meadows over the past two mornings.

Mucho Macho Man, Shackleford. and Boys At Tosconova all worked at Gulfstream Park on Friday. Trickmeister topped the tab here the previous morning, while at Palm Meadows, 2011 Florida Derby winner Dialed In continues to progress toward his expected return later in the meet.

Mucho Macho Man worked out of the gate, going six furlongs in 1:13.81 under exercise rider Nick Petro Jr. Mucho Macho Man, who finished third in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, went off at a leisurely pace, covering the opening quarter in 26.08 seconds before completing his final half-mile in a very sharp 47.73. He galloped out seven-eighths past the finish line in 1:26.49 and a mile in 1:42.41.

Mucho Macho Man is being pointed to the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic on Jan. 28.

“I thought he worked very well,” trainer Kathy Ritvo said. “I was really happy with the way he relaxed early. We worked him out of the gate prior to his last win in New York, too. It kind of sharpens him up. He couldn’t be doing better right now. He really likes it here.”

Shackleford had his first serious work since finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, breezing five furlongs from the half-mile to mile pole in 1:01.21, posting internal fractions of 24.23 and 48.88, before galloping out six panels in 1:14.43.

“That was a good work today,” trainer Dale Romans said. “It was exactly what I was looking for, to have him zip around at a nice clip, and he did it the right way. He’s coming around. He gets a lot out of his gallops in the morning. He should be ready.”

Romans is pointing Shackleford to the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 11, a race that could prove a springboard to the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 24. Romans won the 2005 World Cup with Roses in May.

“We’ve done it before, and it’s always easier to do something the second time,” Romans said with a smile when asked about returning to Dubai for the World Cup. “And they’ve sweetened the pot since we’ve been there.”

Boys At Tosconova drills a day late

Boys At Tosconova took a mulligan when working an easy five-eighths in 1:02.16 on Friday. Boys At Tosconova was scheduled to breeze six furlongs the previous morning, but had that drill aborted by his rider before going a quarter-mile due to a loose horse on the racetrack.

“It was no big deal bringing him back out again today,” trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. explained. “He galloped good after the rider pulled him up yesterday, and he did exactly the right thing not taking a chance with the loose horse on the track. We’ve got plenty of time. He’s not going to run until the Gulfstream Park Handicap”

The Grade 2, one-mile Gulfstream Park Handicap will be run March 10. Boys At Tosconova has won each of his last two starts, including an allowance race here earlier in the meet.

Trickmeister was able to work as scheduled Thursday, zipping six furlongs in 1:12.70 after posting some quick early splits of 23.22 for a quarter, 34.70 for three-eighths, and 46.70 for a half-mile. It was his first major drill since registering an extremely impressive victory in the Harlan’s Holiday here Dec. 17.

“I was happy with the whole thing from A to Z,” Dutrow said of Trickmeister’s latest work. “All that time off really did him good. Sometimes in this game, you just have to wait, babe. You just have to wait.”

Dutrow said Trickmeister and his stablemate Redeemed both remain on target for the Donn.

“I hate running the two of them against each other right now, but they both belong in the race, both like this track, and it’s a big enough race we can get away with it,” Dutrow said. “The Donn is an important race for us. If they run well and get invited to the World Cup, we’d have to consider it. I’m not sure how they’ll handle the [synthetic track], but that’s a lot of money.”

Dutrow also reported that the long-term prognosis for Arson Squad, who broke down at the end of a routine morning workout earlier this month, is a good one.

“He had surgery and Dr. [Larry] Bramlage said there’s nothing to worry about,” Dutrow said. “That’s a score, considering what could have happened. He’ll live a good life.”

Dialed In fires Palm Meadows bullet

Dialed In turned in another bullet work Thursday at Palm Meadows, going a half-mile in 47.41 seconds, much to the satisfaction of trainer Nick Zito.

“He did it easily and is right on schedule,” Zito said. “He’s got a lot of miles, a lot of air in him since we brought him back this fall. If he stays together, he’s going to have a good year. He’ll run sometime later in the meet, but it will have to be the right spot, if you know what I mean.”