01/12/2013 3:15PM

Gulfstream Park notes: Mucho Macho Man ready for Sunshine Millions

Barbara D. Livingston
Mucho Macho Man worked five furlongs in 59.61 on Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Mucho Macho Man completed preparations for his 2013 bow in next Saturday’s Sunshine Millions Classic by working five furlongs in 59.61 under regular exercise rider Nick Petro Jr. on Saturday. Breaking off at the half-mile pole while equipped in blinkers, Mucho Macho Man traveled his first quarter in 23.20 and half in 47.01 before galloping out six furlongs into the turn in 1:14.47.

“It was perfect, just what I wanted. He’s ready to go,” said trainer Katherine Ritvo.

Other key workers at Gulfstream on Saturday included Travers winner Golden Ticket and a stablemate, the 3-year-old prospect Frac Daddy. They went five furlongs in company in 1:01.34, with Golden Ticket going the easier of the pair at the wire. Spectacular Bid winner Merit Man went a very easy half-mile in 53.06, and the multiple Grade 1 turf winner Teaks North worked six furlongs in 1:13.25.

Among the top names to work Saturday at Palm Meadows were Went the Day Well (five furlongs in 1:01.51), Capt. Candyman Can (four furlongs in 49.33) and Stopshoppingmaria (five furlongs in 59.55).

Disqualification overturned

A protest filed on behalf of the connections of No Act over a disqualification from second to third following the running of the first race on Dec. 6 has been upheld following a review of the original decision by former steward Bernie Hettel, acting on behalf of Gulfstream Park.

No Act finished second behind Lord Chelsie, with the 3-5 favorite For All Who Conga checking home third in the roughly run $10,000 claiming dash. Although it appeared Lord Chelsie created all the trouble by drifting steadily through late stretch, the stewards disqualified both the first- and second-place finishers, awarding For All Who Conga the win.

Ron Spatz, the trainer of No Act, filed a protest the following day on behalf of his owner Charlotte Gershaw. In Florida, all such protests are arbitrated by a representative of the host track. To decide the protest, Gulfstream Park officials reached out to Hettel, who had served as a steward here several years ago but no longer works for the track.

“We wanted to find somebody who had no connection to the track or would be biased in any way towards any of the parties involved,” said Gulfstream’s president and general manager Tim Ritvo.

After reviewing the films of the race, Hettel overturned the stewards original decision, placing No Act first, For All Who Conga second, and Lord Chelsie third.

“I disagree with the extent of the disqualification,” Hettel wrote in his decision. “The disqualification of Lord Chelsie was correctly made, however the disqualification of No Act was incorrect. No Act and For All Who Conga brushed as they exchanged glancing contact, but jockey David Cohen aboard Lord Chelsie permitted his mount to drift, interfering with both horses.”

Spatz said the protest was the first he has filed in more than 30 years on the racetrack.

“I disagreed with the stewards’ decision when I originally watched the race and more so after re-watching the tapes several hours later, so I filed a protest the next day,” said Spatz. “Naturally I’m very happy the arbitrator saw things the same way, overturned the decision, and awarded us the win.”

Italian jockey wins one

Cristian Demuro, who rode first-time starter Gigante Sabado for trainer Wesley Ward in Saturday’s first race, was the leading rider in Italy in 2012, winning 264 races from March through November. He also won the Shergar Cup at Ascot, an international riding competition.

Demuro, 20, whose brother Mirco won the 2011 Dubai World Cup on Victoire Pisa, is galloping horses for trainer Bill Mott at Gulfstream and will ride here through mid-February, when he will move his tack to Japan for three months.