02/19/2011 7:19PM

Mucho Macho Man best in Risen Star

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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.