Mucho Macho Man spent last fall chasing To Honor And Serve home in the Nashua and Remsen Stakes. In his three year old debut in the Holy Bull Stakes, Mucho Macho Man was bumped hard coming out of the chute, but still leapt to the lead and dueled until backing up to fourth in the stretch. Fortified with a hard race under his girth, Mucho Macho Man was strong in the Risen Star, drawing off to win by 1 ½ lengths. Although he was made the favorite for the Louisiana Derby, the Kathy Ritivo trainee was farther back than his customarily spot on/near the lead. He battled gamely in the stretch, but seemed to lack that closing punch and finished third in a blanket finish. His effort was all the more gallant since it was later found that he had lost a shoe at the start of the race.
So how mucho stamina does Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno - Ponche de Leona, by Ponche) carry and can he be a factor in the Kentucky Derby?
Mucho Macho Man's sire Macho Uno was a brilliant two year old, winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in an exciting duel with Point Given. Unfortunately, he was injured and missed the Triple Crown races. As an older horse, he was successful at the highest levels up to 1 1/8 miles, but finished no better than third in three attempts at 1 1/4 miles. Macho Uno's offspring have the same distance limitations as their sire. The majority are fine up to 1 1/8 miles but Macho Uno has no winners at 1 1/4 miles from 209 lifetime starters.
Ponche de Leona, Mucho Macho Man's dam, faced the starter 30 times. She was a fairly precocious juvenile winning and placing in listed sprint stakes as a two year old. She won eight races and placed in the money an additional six times, traveling from Florida to California with stops in Kentucky. Mucho Macho Man is her first foal to race. Ponche de Leona is the best foal produced by her dam Perfect and Proud, who won once in 19 starts. None of Ponche de Leona’s half siblings have any blacktype (stakes wins) and one must trace back to Mucho Macho Man’s fourth dam Gal Sal to find a stakes winner. Mucho Macho Man’s fifth dam Carolwood was very productive and her daughters bore Kentucky Derby place horse Closing Argument, Alcibiades Stakes heroine Dream Empress, Hopeful stakes winner and sire Yonaguska and Jerome winner Prenup.
Ponche, Mucho Macho Man's Canadian-bred damsire, raced 47 times, winning 16 events, mainly on the Florida circuit. He was victorious in five listed stakes sprint races and placed in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector. He was so popular, Calder Race Track named a stakes race in Ponche’s honor. Ponche, a son of the swift sprinter Two Punch, sired only eight blacktype runners, including Mucho Macho Man's dam. Ponche's daughters haven't produced much in the way of stakes winners and Mucho Macho Man is undoubtedly the best.
Mucho Macho Man's pedigree is borderline for getting the derby distance. His sire’s failure to get a winner at 1 ¼ miles and Mucho Macho Man’s sprint-oriented distaff line indicate that he’ll be struggling in the last 1/8 mile. Still, he is a large, long-striding horse who likes to race on or near the lead and he has a strong mid-race move. Mucho Macho Man overcame adversity in the Louisiana Derby while taking third place despite running without a shoe. Some horses can overcome a borderline pedigree if other factors are in their favor. Mucho Macho Man may have what it takes to finish in the money in the Kentucky Derby.