On Super Saturday on both
the west and east coast, at Santa Anita and Belmont Park, the old guard showed
up and brought their best. First it was Little Mike, followed by Ron the Greek,
and finally out west it was Mucho Macho Man. The good old boys said not so fast
to the three and four year-olds, we still have some run in these not so young
Bill Mott probably said it
best when it comes to these veterans of the older male division, "You gotta love
Ron. Everybody loves Ron the Greek! This is the Ron the Greek today.
This is the same type of race he ran in the Sunshine Millions, the same type of
race he ran in California when he won the Santa Anita Handicap. Every once in a
while, he'll throw one of these. I can't determine when, but he did it
Mott said about his veteran Ron the Greek could easily apply to Little Mike and
Mucho Macho Man. Just take out Ron’s name and insert the others. A day like
yesterday makes it clear why racing fans love to see horses run when they are
five and six years-old.
2012 Little Mike won four races
including the Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs, the Arlington Million (G1),
and the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). As the calendar year changed and Little Mike
became a six-year old, he struggled. His first four starts this year could yield
only a fourth place finish in the United Nations. Age seemed to have caught up
with Little Mike.
Super Saturday Mike Smith got up on
Little Mike. Before the race Smith watched video of the way Ramon Dominguez
rode Little Mike and he decided to do what Ramon had done. Smith positioned his
hands in Ramon’s style and Little Mike took command of the Joe Hirsch Turf
Classic at the top of the stretch and hung on to win by a nose.
Mike’s trainer Dale Romans said, "It
was pretty smart of Mike to think like that.
Whatever he did, it worked. He ran like he did for Ramon. Ramon texted
me last night to congratulate me. I told him what Mike said, and he got a kick
out of that."
Ron the Greek had not won a race since
Jan. 19th of 2013. He had had five starts since then, all against
the best of the division, but his old bones could do no better than third
place. Super Saturday was also the day for this six year-old, when the 21-1
shot soundly defeated one of the strongest fields in the Jockey Club Gold Club.
Some how Ron the Greek had found his “A” game again.
out on the west coast, Mucho Macho Man took his turn representing the old guard in the Awesome Again (G1). MMM had not
won a race since July 7th in 2012 when he took the Suburban at
Belmont Park. In his career, 21 races had gone by and he had earned over $2.4
million. Many people were asking the same two questions. Had Mucho Macho Man
lost a step and would he ever win a grade one race?
and answered, his loyal fans made him the 1.60-1 favorite and Mucho Macho Man
showed up and the result was a spectacular 4¼-length victory.
needs its best horses to keep running when they get older because when those
veterans bring their “A” games the racing fans get treated to best of horse