03/02/2014 6:24PM

Santa Anita: Mucho Macho Man is 124-pound highweight in Big Cap

Benoit & Associates
Mucho Macho Man works a half-mile in 48.80 seconds at Santa Anita on Sunday ahead of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap on Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Mucho Macho Man is alone at the top of the weights for Saturday’s $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap with an assignment of 124 pounds for the meeting’s top race for older horses.

On Sunday afternoon, Mucho Macho Man had the Santa Anita racetrack to himself for a few minutes, working five furlongs in 1:01.53. The workout was the last for Mucho Macho Man before the Big Cap, where he is expected to go favored in his first start in California since a win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last November.

In Sunday’s workout, Mucho Macho Man was exercised alone under exercise rider Nick Petro. Mucho Macho Man started at the half-mile pole, going the first quarter-mile in 24.30 seconds. Racing well off the rail, Mucho Macho Man was not urged through the workout. He went a half-mile in 48.80 seconds and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.60.

Trainer Kathy Ritvo had hoped to work Mucho Macho Man on Sunday morning but decided to wait for a drier track in the afternoon. Rain began falling Thursday and ended early Sunday. Despite the conditions, the track was labeled “fast” Sunday and produced quick racing times.
Mucho Macho Man worked between the fourth and fifth races.

“We got in a work,” Ritvo said. “We tried to keep him on a schedule of working on the Saturday or Sunday before a race. He stayed off the rail to find the best part of the track. He looked very comfortable.”

Owned by Dean and Patti Reeves and Adena Springs Farm, Mucho Macho Man has started once this year, winning the Sunshine Millions Classic for Florida-breds over 1 1/8 miles by 14 lengths at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 18. The Sunshine Millions Classic was Mucho Macho Man’s first start since the BC Classic. A 6-year-old horse, Mucho Macho Man won the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes here last September.

Mucho Macho Man will spot his rivals from one to 10 pounds in the Big Cap. Other probable starters include Will Take Charge (123 pounds), Game On Dude (122), Blingo (117), and American Blend, Appealing Tale, Imperative, Majestic Harbor, and Rousing Sermon (all 114).

Will Take Charge was beaten a nose by Mucho Macho Man in the BC Classic. Will Take Charge, the champion 3-year-old male of 2013, was second to Lea In the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 9 in his first start of 2014.

Mucho Macho Man and Will Take Charge will dominate the betting in the Big Cap, overshadowing Game On Dude, who won the race in 2011 and 2013. Game On Dude, 7, was fifth in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes on Feb. 8, finishing 5 3/4 lengths behind the victorious Blingo after racing in a speed duel.

Game On Dude worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 on Monday, a busy day of works following weekend rain. American Blend worked the same distance in 1:00.20, while Blingo was timed in 1:00.80. Rousing Sermon was clocked in 1:14 for six furlongs.