04/16/2011 9:38AM

Kentucky Derby: Mucho Macho Man has strong work, ships to Churchill Sunday

Barbara D. Livingston
Mucho Macho Man will have two more works before the Derby.

HALLANDALE BEACH,Fla. - Risen Star winner and Kentucky Derby hopeful Mucho Macho Man zipped seven furlongs in 1:23.66 on Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park in his final work before his scheduled departure for Churchill Downs on Sunday.

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Working in a light rain immediately after the renovation break, Mucho Macho Man posted splits of 11.98 seconds, 34.98, 46.33, 58, and 1:10.66 while bearing out about three or four paths wide entering the stretch. He galloped out a mile in 1:38.70 over a fast track. He floated out about three or four paths wide coming off the turn as he’s done in several of his previous works, while urged along from the top of the stretch to the wire.

“I was happy with the way he worked, I thought he went well,” trainer Kathy Ritvo said. “I worked him seven furlongs today because it’s going to be six weeks between his last start in the Louisiana Derby and the Kentucky Derby. He needed something like that this morning.”

Mucho Macho Man, who finished third after losing a shoe leaving the starting gate as the favorite in the Louisiana Derby, will depart by van for Louisville on Sunday.

“Right now, the plan is to work him twice at Churchill Downs,” Ritvo said. “How far and when, I won’t determine until he gets there and I see how he likes the track and how much he got out of this work today. It looks like they could get some rain there this week, so his schedule could also depend on the weather. I’d like to work Saturday, but I also have the leeway of going to Friday or Sunday, if need be.”

McLaughlin adjusts Soldat’s schedule

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin originally planned on working Derby hopeful Soldat on Saturday as well but called an audible earlier this week to better accommodate his shipping plans for the winner of the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth.

“I was going to work him each of the next three Saturdays here at Palm Meadows, but with him leaving on the 30th, he’ll have only two works,” McLaughlin said. “The first will be on Thursday, the 21st, and the second on Friday the 29th, the day before he ships. He’ll just gallop into the race once he gets to Churchill Downs.”

McLaughlin said Soldat has bounced back nicely from his disappointing fifth-place finish as the favorite in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

“He’s doing great and handling the heat real well, so far,” McLaughlin said.

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