08/25/2013 2:52PM

Saratoga: Cross Traffic, Mucho Macho Man tune up for Woodward Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Cross Traffic, the winner of the Grade 1 Whitney on Aug. 3, breezed a half-mile in 48.12 seconds Sunday with jockey John Velazquez aboard in preparation for Saturday's Grade 1 Woodward Stakes.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Cross Traffic and Mucho Macho Man, the first- and third-place finishers in the Grade 1 Whitney here Aug. 3, turned in their final workouts Sunday for their scheduled rematch in Saturday’s Grade 1 Woodward.

Mucho Macho Man, who was narrowly beaten by To Honor and Serve despite an unlucky trip in the 2012 Woodward, was the first of the pair to go shortly after sunrise. With jockey Edgar Prado aboard, Mucho Macho Man breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:03.55, completing his final quarter in 24.86 without urging before galloping out six panels in 1:16.31.

“It was perfect,” said Kathy Ritvo, who trains Mucho Macho Man for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. “I just wanted an easy five-eighths and for him to gallop out well, and that’s exactly what he did. Edgar said he felt great; he was really happy with him, that he just kind of tugged him around there.”

The Woodward will be Mucho Macho Man’s third start following a five-month layoff after the Sunshine Millions Classic, where he was eased to the wire over a sloppy track. Mucho Macho Man, who was beaten a neck in the Woodward and a half-length two months later in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, finished 2 1/4 lengths behind Cross Traffic in the Whitney.

“I think he’ll be a stronger horse on Saturday than he was in the Whitney,” Ritvo said. “He’s a big, muscular horse, so the third race in the cycle should be his best one. He’s definitely matured and grown over the past year, and I think he’s as good as, if not better, going into this race than he was last summer.” 

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Cross Traffic worked after the renovation break in company with his undefeated stablemate Eastwood, the pair going an easy half-mile in 48.12 before galloping out five-eighths in 1:00.99 and pulling up six panels in 1:13.94.

“I thought he went very well,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He galloped out like we normally ask him to, and he did it well.”

Cross Traffic led throughout before holding off a belated rally from Successful Dan to register a three-quarter-length decision in the Whitney.

Ron the Greek also turned in his final tune-up for the Woodward on Sunday, breezing an easy half-mile in 49.30 over the Oklahoma training track. Ron the Greek finished fourth, two lengths behind Mucho Macho Man, in the Whitney.

A field of eight is expected for the Woodward: Mucho Macho Man, Cross Traffic, Ron the Greek, Alpha, Flat Out, Fort Larned, Paynter, and Successful Dan. 

Pletcher also sent out a pair of Grade 1 winners, Graydar and Shanghai Bobby, to work in company Sunday, the powerhouse duo going five furlongs in 1:01.05 while in hand throughout. Both horses are on the comeback trail after sustaining injuries earlier this year.

“I think they are both coming along right on schedule, and I was happy with both of them,” Pletcher said. “Graydar is most likely for the Kelso. Shanghai Bobby, we’ll just have to see, but he should be ready around the same time, I expect.”

The Grade 2 Kelso will be run at Belmont Park on Sept. 28.

Mark Corbin More than 1 year ago
The way Paynter has trained, Look out1
Sam B More than 1 year ago
Tough! Very strong field. All very strong horses but I like Fort Larned. With this field I can surely see a 8 horse wall on the stretch!
Alex More than 1 year ago
Cross Traffic won't be running,
Michele More than 1 year ago
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Could be scratch. Horse has ran two Max efforts went 1/2. If so paynter will be tough. Paynter, flat out, alpha my early picks
Nicholas Heaven More than 1 year ago
Sitting level they wont beat Fort learned
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Paynter has shot if he can run to the outside of fort larned. This will be important in this race what horse gets outside. Cross traffic can only win on lead. Will not have that easy come Saturday
Cory Casebier More than 1 year ago
Flat Out finally gonna get a win other than Belmont Park
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Earlier I made a mistake on my post. Kiaran Mclaughlin is alphas trainer and bill mott is flat out trainer. I trust kiaran knows what he is doing. And flat out like I said has made a lot of money in his career. Paynter is fresh if he is on the outside of fort larned and crosstraffic will be there at the end. That's my top three. I'm sure none of you have made a mistake before post, or at the betting window I think this field is far better than last year. Good luck on your picks I am going to let fort larned and macho beat me. Unless fort larned is 7th or 8th post then I might change
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Fort larned instead
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Even though it is only a eight horse field, you still have to get post position. Paynter is fresher least amount of starts most of these horses have a lot miles on them, Dan, macho, flat out. Fort larned won the classic and Whitney he is by far classiest but inconsistent. Cross traffic was really tiring last race and ran two great races in met mile and Whitney I think he bounces. macho man might just be the best bridesmaid in racing never won a grade one neither has dan. Alpha has not showed anyth ing this year I am shock he is in the race. My pick early is paynter if he gets outside post, alpha faith in bill mott, flat out that dude has made a lot of money. I will let fort larned beat me that's racing. If fort larned and cross traffic are outside of paynter I will choose
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Fort larned instead
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
Respect the MACHO MAN they may just be getting him right others have already Peeked and everyone thinking ahead