02/12/2011 1:51PM

Mucho Macho Man works five furlongs, will shed blinkers for Risen Star

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Barbara D. Livingston
Mucho Macho Man works at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Mucho Macho Man will sport a new look when he runs Saturday in the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds. No blinkers!

Mucho Macho Man launched his 3-year-old campaign by finishing fourth as the favorite in the Grade 3 Holy Bull here earlier this month, racing close to a fast pace before faltering in late stretch. Trainer Kathy Ritvo said she had been contemplating removing the blinkers from Mucho Macho Man even as a 2-year-old and has decided now is the right time to finally make the move.

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Mucho Macho Man tuned up for the Risen Star by breezing five furlongs, without blinkers, in a leisurely 1:04.36 under jockey Eibar Coa after the second renovation break here Saturday. The Remsen and Nashua runner-up went off his opening quarter in a slow 27.32 seconds into a strong headwind and completed his final two furlongs in 24.68 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:16.71.

“I don’t think he really needed the blinkers at the end of his 2-year-old season but it was tough to take them off when he was running so well,” said Ritvo. “Hopefully removing the blinkers will help relax him. I didn’t want him to do too much today with his race in one week, he’s pretty fit, just to break off slow and finish up. Eibar said he was very pleased with the way he went.”

Ritvo said Mucho Macho Man, who has $90,000 in graded earnings, will have to step up in the Risen Star.

“We decided to take him to the Risen Star rather than wait for the Fountain of Youth here the following week because at the moment it looks like it will be the easier of the two spots,” said Ritvo. “But this is definitely the race where we find out where we stand.”

* Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin worked his two top 3-year-old prospects Saturday at Palm Meadows, sending out Soldat to breeze five-eighths in 1:01.20 and Crossbow an easy half-mile in 50.50. Soldat is expected to be one of the favorites in the Fountain of Youth while Crossbow figures to be similarly backed earlier that same afternoon in the Grade 2 Hutcheson.