12/21/2012 3:17PM

Gulfstream Park: Mucho Macho Man to kick off 2013 campaign in Sunshine Millions Classic

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Barbara D. Livingston
Mucho Macho Man will go for an elusive Grade 1 win after he runs in the Sunshine Millions.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Mucho Macho Man, who ran the race of his life only to come out second best behind Fort Larned in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, will open his 2013 campaign the same way he began 2012, in the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park.

Trainer Kathy Ritvo announced the decision to open the year in the Sunshine Millions Classic along with Finn Green, stable manager for the horse’s owner, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. Mucho Macho Man’s second option would have been to start the season in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap. The Sunshine Millions Classic will be run on Jan. 19, the Donn three weeks later on Feb. 9.

“The Sunshine Millions is a fantastic race to come back in,” said Ritvo. “We thought it was the perfect place for him to start.”

Mucho Macho Man posted a 1 1/2-length victory over Ron the Greek in the 2012 Sunshine Millions Classic, then came back later in the meet to win the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap. A son of Macho Uno, Mucho Macho Man also won the Grade 2 Suburban and was beaten a neck by To Honor and Serve in the Grade 1 Woodward prior to his huge performance on Breeders’ Cup Day, for which he received a career-best 116 Beyer Speed Figure.

“He’s done great,” said Ritvo. “He’s come out of the Classic really well and shown us all the right signs since coming back here. He’s put on weight, he’s grown, and he loves it at Gulfstream. He’s very relaxed here.”

Ritvo and Green would not reveal any further plans beyond the Sunshine Millions for Mucho Macho Man, who despite all his accomplishments has never won a Grade 1 race.

“We have a plan but we’re just going to start with this one and take it one race at a time, the same way we did last year,” said Ritvo. “There will be plenty of opportunities to run in Grade 1 races later this year.”

Mucho Macho Man was scheduled to have his first breeze since the Breeders’ Cup here on Saturday morning.

The 2013 Sunshine Millions Classic could wind up a rematch of the 2012 edition, with Mucho Macho Man and Ron the Greek hooking up for a second straight year. Ron the Greek, who finished fourth after an unlucky start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, is in training with Bill Mott at Payson Park, where he worked a bullet half-mile in 48 seconds on Friday.

Unlike Mucho Macho Man, Take Charge Indy will be targeting the Donn for his 2013 bow. The winner of the 2012 Florida Derby, he breezed an easy three-eighths in 36.80 at Palm Meadows on Friday, his first work since finishing a length behind Shackleford in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs Nov. 23.

Steve Reed More than 1 year ago
Sounds like sour grapes, I would love to have a Horse with Mucho's consistentcy and Bankroll $$$$. He isn't the Best in the country but "better than most"
John Flynn More than 1 year ago
This horse has yet to win a G1 & probably never will. The Sunshine Million is a Soft Spot!!!
ATOWN WHAT More than 1 year ago
Shaping up to be another great year in the handicap division, with Mucho Macho Man, Ron The Greek, Fort Larned, Flat Out, and Game On Dude all returning. Add in some 3 year olds from this year and it should be a great season!
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
With no three year olds left to speak of, next year looks very promising for Mucho Macho Man. Fort Larned is also capable of having another solid year. I look for Called To Serve to be competitive as a four year old. Also Pletcher actually did what's right by El Padrino. He will mature nicely I believe. Always liked Ron The Greek but his dead closer style doesn't always suit him as a win candidate.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I know he's 4 going on 5. Just meant not many top 3 yr holds left to challenge last yrs older male division.
Marc Ferrell More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the confidence Thomas on Called to Serve. Had a very nice move at Belmont this morning. Will run in the Broad Brush on 12/31 and then it will be the Donn or to California to take on straight 4 year olds.
Marc Ferrell More than 1 year ago
And we do realize he needs to take that huge step forward at Laurel to be competitive at the Grade 1 level. Hence the back up plan.
Perl More than 1 year ago
This is a quality, honest horse. He almost always puts in his run yet thus far he has failed several dogfights in the biggest moments of his career. The Derby, the Woodward, and the BC Classic. In all three races he was a prominent forward factor but his problem is that he is not especially handy and he either finds trouble or has to go wide, or both. I wish he and his connections success in 2013. He has the talent to run with anyone in this country, but does he have the necessary killer instinct when it's winnin' time? Time will tell.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Its so true. He has the potential to run away from horses, but seems content to run with them in the last quarter mile.
laura ban More than 1 year ago
I have a real soft spot for this horse and his connections, all the best in 2013!
Mine thatbird More than 1 year ago
Have liked him since his Remsen. Would like to see him get a G1 victory, deserving horse. I know they want to give him time between starts but I think he could run in the Donn after the SS Millions. He won the Risen Star off 3 weeks rest. I think he is capable but I understand not changing when what they are doing is working.
Infinity More than 1 year ago
You got to be a macho man!!!!
ctgreyhound More than 1 year ago
Oh, the shear joy of watching Mucho Macho Man. May his star shine in 2013!
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Hopefully, Ritvo and the owners give serious consideration to bringing Mucho Macho Man back to Santa Anita for the Big Cap. The Big Cap works, spacing wise, with the Sunshine Millions. And it's not like the Cali handicap division is loaded. There is Game on Dude, then Nonios, but Nonios might not be as effective going 10 furlongs. I'm sure Ultimate Eagle will be given another chance on dirt, but as we found out in last year's Big Cap, he can be one-dimensional and can be severly compromised by pace pressure. Richard's Kid really needs 10 furlongs these days to have a chance, but even at that distance his lack of tactical speed puts him in huge holes, holes that are hard to rally out of over speed favoring surfaces. Arguably the biggest challenge to Mucho Macho Man in the Big Cap could come from fellow shipper Ron the Greek, assuming his connections bring him back out for the repeat try.
ron breton More than 1 year ago
richard's kid needs to drop a notch to grade 3's and also mike smith seems to know how to handle him....check jockey stats with mike
Perl More than 1 year ago
yup. Dicks kid can't compete in G1s anymore.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Macho Man a 'house horse'. They are not gonna miss the Donn Handicap.
Standiforx More than 1 year ago
Gulfstream and Santa Anita are owned by the same "house" so a trip west is not out of the question.
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
Tim Ritvo is president of Gulfstream Park. That's why MMM is a Gulfstream "house horse".