01/08/2011 2:57PM

Mucho Macho Man works swiftly for Holy Bull

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Mucho Macho Man, winner of the Risen Star, will be the favorite for the Louisiana Derby.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Mucho Macho Man, among the leading candidates for the Grade 3 Holy Bull on Jan. 30, took his first major step in that direction by working a bullet five furlongs in 59.01 seconds Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

With jockey Eibar Coa aboard, Mucho Macho Man broke off at the five-furlong pole three lengths behind stablemate Holy Poppi, drew alongside his partner near the quarter pole, and was kept about six paths off the rail while beginning to edge clear in early stretch. Mucho Macho Man then pulled away to finish approximately seven lengths in front at the wire. Mucho Macho Man, who was only put to mild urging approaching the wire, posted splits of 23.02, 34.18, and 47.04 for the opening half-mile.

“I was very pleased and so was Eibar,” trainer Kathy Ritvo said after Mucho Macho Man had finished cooling out. “He went a little quick the first part but he breezed by himself last time and I think he saw that other horse in front of him today. That’s why Eibar took him a little wide into the stretch. But he got a lot out of this work and we’ll bring him back to go either five or possibly six furlongs next weekend.”

Mucho Macho Man, a strapping son of Macho Uno, finished second behind To Honor and Serve in both the Nashua and Remsen stakes to close out his 2-year-old campaign.

Another Holy Bull candidate, Manicero, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.40 over a cuppy strip at Calder on Saturday. Manicero has won his last three starts, including a pair of stakes, for trainer Leo Azpurua Jr.