08/25/2013 1:52PM

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.

This content is part of a free preview of DRF Plus. Click to learn more.

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.” 

DRF Plus Preview

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.