09/21/2013 12:22PM

Santa Anita notes: Mucho Macho Man fresh for Awesome Again Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Mucho Macho Man will make his next start in Saturday's Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita.

Last fall, Mucho Macho Man was a late arrival at Santa Anita before finishing a game second to Fort Larned in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. Blame that travel disruption on Hurricane Sandy.

This year, gruesome weather is unlikely to interfere with Mucho Macho Man’s preparation for the BC Classic on Nov. 2. Mucho Macho Man was sent West earlier this month and will have a local prep in the $250,000 Awesome Again Stakes over 1 1/8 miles next Saturday.

The Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes will be Mucho Macho Man’s fourth start of 2013, a season in which he has yet to win. Mucho Macho Man was eased in the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park in January. He was later found to have a respiratory issue, which kept him sidelined until late spring.

A 5-year-old by Macho Uno, Mucho Macho Man later finished third in the Criminal Type Stakes at Belmont Park in June and the Grade  1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 3. A start in the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 31 was scrapped because of a wet racetrack.

“We had a slow start” to the year, trainer Kathy Ritvo said Saturday. “I’m really happy with the way he’s training. We’ve got a fresh horse.”

Saturday, Mucho Macho Man worked five furlongs in 1:01 at Santa Anita, his final workout before the Awesome Again. Ritvo timed him in 1:00.80, including a final half-mile in 47.20 seconds.

“He came off the racetrack bucking,” Ritvo said.

Gary Stevens has been booked to ride Mucho Macho Man, who has won 6 of 21 starts and $2,440,410 for Dean and Patti Reeves.

The Awesome Again Stakes is one of five Grade 1 races on Saturday’s program, all preps for Breeders’ Cup races on Nov. 1-2. The Santa Anita autumn meeting begins Friday, with a program highlighted by the Eddie D Stakes on the hillside turf course.

The other four Grade 1 races Saturday are the FrontRunner Stakes for 2-year-olds, Chandelier Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, Zenyatta Stakes for fillies and mares, and Rodeo Drive Stakes for turf females.

Obviously tunes up for City of Hope Mile

Obviously, the leading turf miler in California, worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 on Saturday, although jockey Joe Talamo and trainer Mike Mitchell recorded quicker times.

Mitchell timed Obviously in 59.20, working from the half-mile pole, past the finish line, and to the seven-eighths pole at the start of the clubhouse turn. Talamo, who times horses he works, recorded “58 and change.”

The winner of three consecutive stakes for turf milers, including the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile on Aug. 25, Obviously will make his next start in the $150,000 City of Hope Mile on turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 5. The race was known last year as the Arroyo Seco Mile.

“Regardless of time, I think the work was unbelievable,” Talamo said. “He’s definitely sharper than the race at Del Mar.”

Owned by Joseph Scardino and Anthony Fanticola, Obviously, 5, was third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last November and has the same race as a goal Nov. 2.

“I could run him tomorrow,” Mitchell said. “He’s ready. We’ll go into the prep race expecting a big race out of him.”

◗ Mitchell said that Egg Drop, winner of the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Del Mar on Sept. 2, is a candidate for the $150,000 Goldikova Stakes over a mile on turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 3, the final day of the autumn meeting.