07/24/2012 4:39PM

At Saratoga, Macho Macho works toward West Virginia Derby

Ryan Denver/Equi-Photo
Macho Macho (left) runs second to My Adonis in the Long Branch.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - With heavy rain Monday night making for wet track surfaces, Tuesday morning was light for workers at Saratoga.

One of the more notable breezers was Macho Macho, the runner-up in the Long Branch Stakes, who went five furlongs in 1:00.99 over the main track in preparation for a start in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer on Aug. 4.

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“He is a very good horse,” said trainer Steve Asmussen, who has won the West Virginia Derby three times. “He breezed beautiful today. The timing of the West Virginia Derby is excellent for him.”

Asmussen took over the training of Macho Macho in the spring. The horse won a first-level allowance race at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day and finished third, beaten 7 1/2 lengths by Neck ‘n Neck, in the Grade 3 Matt Winn before a runner-up finish to My Adonis in the Long Branch at Monmouth last out.

“He’s a better horse than he ran in the Matt Winn,” Asmussen said. “The pace scenario was not what you expected it to be – down inside nobody going anywhere in front of him. [Neck ‘n Neck] ran an incredible race that day. I ran him back relatively quick in the Long Branch, and I think it puts us in very good position for his next race.”

Also working for Asmussen on Tuesday was 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Regally Ready, who went four furlongs in 1:02.68 over the main track. Regally Ready is winless in four starts this year, including a fourth-place finish as the 4-5 favorite in the Arlington Sprint on July 7. Asmussen said he did not have a race picked out yet for Regally Ready.

The Asmussen-trained Rothko, the Grade 3 Aristides winner who finished second in the Iowa Sprint Handicap, worked five furlongs in 1:00.02 Monday morning in preparation for the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt here on Aug. 5.