02/19/2011 7:19PM

Mucho Macho Man best in Risen Star


Mucho Macho Man and jockey Rajiv Maragh were prominent from the start Saturday before turning back all comers to win the Grade 2, $300,000 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

Based in south Florida with trainer Kathy Ritvo, Mucho Macho Man drew clear leaving the eighth pole to post a clear-cut score over Santiva. Rogue Romance shook loose late to finish a creditable third in the 1 1/16-mile race, while Machen settled for fourth in the field of 10 3-year-olds.

Mucho Macho Man returned $9.20 and took a giant step toward the May 7 Kentucky Derby, where he surely would be a major media story because of Ritvo, who has survived major health issues in reaching this point.

Maragh was substituting for Eibar Coa, who was injured Friday in a Gulfstream spill and underwent six hours of surgery Saturday for a fractured vertebra.
The $2 exacta paid $72.80 and the $1 trifecta paid $126.