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Ron the Greek Romps in the Sunshine Millions

After the impressive performance of Ron the Greek in the 2013 Sunshine Millions Classic, on the same day of the Eclipse Awards, trainer Bill Mott was reminded that Ron the Greek was the only horse to have beaten Wise Dan in 2012. His comments had the gathered press laughing out loud. “They always say that Wise Dan got beat, but they never say who beat him. He only got beat once and it was on the dirt. I’d like to get a little more PR for poor old Ron. You know we love Ron.”


Mott’s comment, of course, refers to Ron the Greek’s victory over by a head over Wise Dan in the Stephen Foster in June at Churchill Downs.


The 2013 Sunshine Millions Classic was a rematch from last year in which Mucho Macho Man defeated Ron the Greek by 1½ lengths. According to the bettors this race was not supposed to be close. Mucho Macho Man was sent off the overwhelming 1-5 favorite and Bill Mott’s horse was 3-1.


The bettors were very wrong as Ron the Greek drew off in the stretch to win by open lengths as track announcer Larry Collmus described, “Ron the Greek in a dominant performance.”


The fractions were fast in the race (23.19, 46.59, 1:11.03, 1:36.06) as Ron the Greek sat off the early leaders. Mott described the race, “Heading down the backside he was five or six lengths off the lead. It looked like he was into the bridle and running well.  He (jockey Jose Lezcano) put him into a drive around the turn and he shook loose and the rest is history.”


Mucho Macho Man had been training impressively at Gulfstream Park prior to the Sunshine Millions. Trainer Kathy Ritvo decided to put blinkers back on him for his 2013 debut. Rain in the morning made the track sloppy for the race and Mucho Macho Man had only run on a wet track once before. On that day he finished a distant seventh place in the 2011 Belmont Stakes.


Mucho Macho Man broke alertly and ran with the leaders until he was shuffled back in the first turn. He quickly made up the ground down the backstretch. Entering the clubhouse turn he made a strong move on the outside and appeared to be on his way.  However midway through the turn, Mucho Macho Man began to fade and ended up being eased by Jockey Mike Smith.


After the race Ritvo could not find anything wrong with her star. Clearly the sloppy track was not to his liking and the change of equipment may have been a factor.


Mott said they plan to follow last year’s race schedule in which Ron the Greek followed the Sunshine Millions with a victory in the Santa Anita Handicap, a second in the Oaklawn Handicap, and the Stephen Foster win.  For now it is time to give Ron the Greek all of the accolades that Mott feels he deserves.



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Older Comments about Ron the Greek Romps in the Sunshine Millions ...

RTG is a very consistent.. Good horse!! I hope he has a great year!
115 on that wet track is very impressive.
UPDATE -- Ron the Greek got a very big 115 BSF.
I don't think I have seen Bill Mott this excited after a race.
He went to Saratoga last year. I wouldn't be surprised to see him there again.
Wish he'd hit Saratoga, Mott has a barn up there
Mott is a great trainer and hope to see Ron at the Big Cap
Mott was positively giddy in the winner's circle ... good for him!

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.


Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.


The best way to get to know Matt is to check out some of his favorite articles from the past couple years.

• Preakness Interview with Trainer Todd Pletcher

• Kentucky Derby 2016 Handicapping Tips from A to Z


• Edison: the Travels of a Million Dollar Colt 

• A Kentucky Derby Field with Just 14 Horses

• What is the Best Kentucky Derby Running Style?



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