02/15/2014 11:27AM

Gulfstream Park: Mucho Macho Man will skip World Cup and point to Santa Anita Handicap

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Tom Keyser
Mucho Macho Man worked a sharp five furlongs at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The connections of Mucho Macho Man said Saturday that the reigning Breeders’ Cup Classic champion will return to the scene of his finest hour to make his next start in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap on March 8.

The announcement that Mucho Macho Man would decline an invitation to compete in the $10 million Dubai World Cup and instead go back to Santa Anita came several hours after Mucho Macho Man turned in a sensational 58.16-second work at Gulfstream Park that morning.

“We thought long and hard about where to run him next,” said trainer Kathy Ritvo. “He’s ready to run and we’ve got to do what we think is best for the horse. We already know he likes Santa Anita and we’re looking forward to going back there again.”

Aside from his nose victory in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic over Will Take Charge, Mucho Macho Man also won the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita last October and finished second behind Fort Larned there in the 2012 BC Classic.

Ritvo was extremely pleased with Mucho Macho Man’s five-furlong work on Saturday, which came in company with stablemate Billboard Babe. Breaking off a half-length behind and outside his target, Mucho Macho Man posted splits of 23.05 and 34.34 for the opening three-eighths before drawing well clear of his partner. He completed his final quarter in 23.78 while in hand before galloping out six furlongs in an eye-catching 1:10.77 over an extremely fast track, but one which had been cut up quite a bit by the time he worked just prior to the first renovation break.

“We know the track is very fast but it’s the way he did it that matters and he couldn’t have done it any easier,” said Ritvo.

The work was the second since Mucho Macho Man registered an easy-as-can-be 14-length victory while making his 2014 debut in the Sunshine Millions Classic on Jan. 18. Ritvo said she’ll work Mucho Macho Man again next Saturday at Gulfstream before pulling him on a flight to Santa Anita the following day.

As for declining an opportunity to run for $10 million in Dubai, Finn Green, stable agent for Mucho Macho Man’s owners Dean and Patti Reeves, said “the people in Dubai were very professional and helpful but we informed them on Friday that after examining our options, we felt it was in the horse’s best interests to go to Santa Anita.

Green said the Reeves’ have received numerous offers to sell Mucho Macho Man but as of Saturday, no deal had been made.

chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Bad season coming for Baffert... the Eastern invaders are on their way.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Fox Sports 1 may want to add the Big Cap to their list of races. Based on the preliminary line up, it would be a shame for this race not to be included.
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
Agree.
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
Here is the deal! MMM and WTC and any other horse that has guts to face THEM in Big Cap! Great for the sport! TV should eat this up! WTC last 5 races are been fantastic ! At 5 different tracks! MMM has become Americas racehorse whether you guys like it or not. Enjoy and stop whining!
jaybern1 More than 1 year ago
This post is now closed due to stupid comments.
B More than 1 year ago
Oh, you shouldn't be so hard on yourself. The things you wrote weren't ALL stupid.
jaybern1 More than 1 year ago
Thank you for acknowledging that.
B More than 1 year ago
I guess from reading below that WTC is also running. It's starting to look the BC Classic all over again. Not sure that's such good news for Dude. Be funny or at least odd should he be able to beat these same horses going the same distance at the same track in the spring, but not in the winter.
B More than 1 year ago
Didn't expect it, but it's a good decision. He's going to be vulnerable though after a 4 month layoff running a mile and a quarter. Be interested to see who he faces. There's Dude whose won this a couple of times & I would be happy if he makes it a third, but I've lost faith. Wonder who else is aiming for this.
not impressed More than 1 year ago
He's not coming off a 4 month layoff...he just won in Jan by 14 lengths. He's coming to SA fit as a fiddle.
B More than 1 year ago
Ah, yes. Completely forgot about it. Another one of those races where there is one big horse with no competition. Seem to be the way to go the past few years.
Ralston Headley More than 1 year ago
Great decision.
jaybern1 More than 1 year ago
Secretariat, Spectacular Bid, Affirmed, Seattle Slew, Citation, and Man o' War were all overrated because they did not race overseas.
B More than 1 year ago
I hope this is a joke.
jaybern1 More than 1 year ago
No, I'm serious.
B More than 1 year ago
Well, you may be serious, but you cannot be taken seriously. You've just stated that some of the very greatest thoroughbreds who ever lived are overrated.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Of coarse its a joke, just like his 2nd comment....
jaybern1 More than 1 year ago
I guess sarcasm doesn't go over well in print.
not impressed More than 1 year ago
REALLY? Let's see they didn't do international competition back then and they carried FAR more weight than the fragile beings of today. You seriously should go back to your day job.
Walter More than 1 year ago
This is great news for American racing fans. We have an older horse stay in training as a 6yo. The connections stay in the US, and we have a potential matchup of MMM, WTC, & Dude in the Big Cap in March. What could possibly be wrong with this scenario?
Rick Baldwin More than 1 year ago
USA racing needs all the help it can get & this should make it a great day for SA.
Bugsy Anderson More than 1 year ago
They had a chance to prove USA has the best horses in the world, but they refuse to ever go race them.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
I would think the connections know MMM a little better than most. To stay home and not go says it all. Night racing, different surface, a 6yo, I wouldn't go. Pretty sure he'll bank what he did last race season..........
Walter More than 1 year ago
Bugsy, I recall you saying recently that you wanted more match ups of great horses. Well you now have that in the Big Cap next month. What could you possibly be complaining about with this story?
Bugsy Anderson More than 1 year ago
The big cap is not nearly as important as having a world champion. The nation as a whole profits from world champion that actually face the best in the world.... not given the crown by the Breeders Cup people that claim they are the world champions
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Too many American horses get the shaft in Dubai.
Walter More than 1 year ago
I guess I don't understand. How does the nation profit from having a "world champion"? Btw...that would be a subjective title.