04/09/2011 1:55PM

Gulfstream Park: Mucho Macho Man zips in workout

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Barbara D. Livingston
Mucho Macho Man breezed seven furlongs in 1:29.40 on Sunday over a sloppy Churchill Downs strip.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Kathy Ritvo has scheduled four workouts for Mucho Macho Man leading up to the Kentucky Derby, and if the last three are as good as the first one, he could be a force to be reckoned with on May 7 at Churchill Downs.

KENTUCKY DERBY NEWS: Track all the 3-year-olds on the Triple Crown trail

Working for the first time since losing a shoe leaving the starting gate en route to his third-place finish in the Grade 1 Louisiana Derby, Mucho Macho Man surprised even Ritvo when he zipped five furlongs over a fast track in 58.21 seconds Saturday at Gulfstream Park under exercise rider Mike Herra, completing his final quarter in just a shade over 23 seconds after having to alter course a bit and come around another worker nearing the eighth pole. Mucho Macho Man then proceeded to gallop out six furlongs in 1:11.20 and pull up a mile in 1:40, according to track clockers.

“It was faster than I was expecting or wanted him to go, but he’s been on his toes not having run or worked for two weeks, and when he saw that other horse in front of him in the stretch it sort of got his competitive juices going,” said Ritvo. “But he seemed to do it easily enough, galloped out strong, and best of all came back and cooled out well.”

Ritvo plans to bring Mucho Macho Man back for one more local work next Saturday, perhaps at six or even seven furlongs, before shipping him to Churchill Downs the following day. He’ll work twice under the Twin Spires, on each of the two Saturday’s leading up to Derby day.

“It’s starting to get pretty hot around here right now,” said Ritvo. “In fact I’ll probably start taking him out earlier to gallop to beat the heat.”

Ritvo said even though Mucho Macho Man took a bit of an erratic path during the late stages of the Louisiana Derby, she will not put the blinkers that she had taken off her horse earlier this winter back on for the Derby.

“I think he just wasn’t getting hold of the track more than anything else the last time,” said Ritvo. “And he was only running on three shoes. I don’t want to put blinkers back on him now, especially with his next race being at a mile and one quarter.”

Easy, hot works for West Virginia outing

A pair of prospective starters for Saturday’s $1 million Charles Town Classic were a contrast in styles in their final works for the race Saturday morning at Calder.

Tackleberry, who has won the Sunshine Millions Classic, Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship, and Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap in his last three starts, worked an easy half-mile in 50 seconds before the renovation break, while Duke of Mischief earned the bullet for five furlongs by covering the distance in 1:00.20 over a slow and cuppy racetrack.

Trainer Luis Olivares, who also owns Tackleberry, said his star would ship to West Virginia on Sunday.

Pletcher pair post bullets

At Palm Meadows, the Todd Pletcher-trained 3-year-olds Brethren and Dance City lit up the work tab, posting bullet five-furlong drills in 59 seconds.

Brethren, who disappointed as the odds-on favorite in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby, is expected to make his next start Saturday at Oaklawn Park in the Arkansas Derby. Dance City upset his previously unbeaten stablemate Cal Nation under entry-level allowance conditions going a mile here last month and could be headed next to the Jerome.