08/31/2013 2:34PM

Woodward: Mucho Macho Man scratches, will race in California

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Barbara D. Livingston
Mucho Macho Man will prep for the Breeders' Cup in the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Kathy Ritvo shrugged her shoulders and said “there’s nothing you can do about the weather” during training hours on Saturday morning and several hours later did as expected, scratching Mucho Macho Man from the Grade 1 Woodward due a racetrack turned to a sea of slop by heavy, overnight rains.

Mucho Macho Man, beaten a neck in the 2012 Woodward, was eased over a sloppy track as the 2-5 favorite in his 2013 debut on Jan. 19 in the Sunshine Millions Classic. Ritvo gave Mucho Macho Man nearly five months off following that race before bringing him back to finish third in an overnight stakes at Belmont on June 14 and third again here last month in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap.

“Naturally I’m disappointed we won’t have the chance to run him this afternoon in the Woodward because he had been doing so well coming up to the race,” said Ritvo. “And I thought with two races under his belt, the third start would be his best one yet. But what can you do? So we’ll just fall back to Plan B and take him to California.”

Plan B that Ritvo was referring to will be the Grade 1 Awesome Again Handicap at Santa Anita on Sept. 28.

“We chose the Awesome Again over the Jockey Club Gold Cup because it’s at a mile and one-eighth instead of a mile and one-quarter, we already know he likes the surface at Santa Anita and hopefully we can trust the weather a little more out there.”

Mucho Macho Man finished second, beaten a half-length by Fort Larned, in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita.   Ritvo said Mucho Macho Man will depart for California on or about Sept. 8 and if all goes well in the Awesome Again will remain at Santa Anita until the Breeders’ Cup.