Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man stepped off a Bob Hubbard
Horse Transportation Van in Santa Anita’s stable area at 5:15 p.m. PST
on Sunday, in advance of a highly anticipated rematch with Classic
runner-up Will Take Charge and Game On Dude in the 77th
running of the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap presented by San
Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino at a mile and a quarter on March 8.
Photo: Benoit Photo
In one of the most thrilling stretch runs in Breeders’ Cup history, the
Kathy Ritvo-trained Mucho Macho Man, with Gary Stevens up, prevailed by
a scant nose over the fast finishing Will Take Charge and Luis Saez.
Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Will Take Charge went on to be voted the
nation’s Eclipse Award as Champion 3-year-old for 2013.
In addition to last year’s Classic, “MMM” was an emphatic 4 ¼ length
winner of Santa Anita’s Grade I, mile and one eighth Awesome Again
Stakes Sept. 28, and he was second, beaten a half length, in the 2012
Classic at Santa Anita.
In his only start since the Classic win, “MMM” demolished a group of
Florida-breds by 14 lengths in the mile and one eighth Sunshine Millions
Classic at Gulfstream Jan. 18.
The 6-year-old horse by Macho Uno, who is owned by Dean and Patti
Reeves, and Adena Springs, worked five furlongs in 1:02.56 Saturday at
Gulfstream and will have one local breeze in advance of the Big ’Cap,
according to Ritvo.
Managed by Reeves Racing’s Finn Green, Mucho Macho Man is in search of his fourth consecutive win and his 10th overall in what will be his 25th career start.
“Kathy (Ritvo) has done an unbelievable job with this horse and I want
to thank her entire team, Dean, Patti and Finn, for allowing me to ride
this horse and for bringing him here for what could be one of the
greatest Big ‘’Caps of all time,” said Stevens, who is a four-time Big
’Cap winner. “It’s truly an honor to be involved in it.”
Following his heartbreak loss in the Classic, Will Take Charge defeated
two-time Big ’Cap winner Game On Dude by a head in the Grade I Clark
Handicap at Churchill Downs Nov. 29, and “WTC” followed that with a
second place finish as the 3-2 favorite in the Grade I Donn Handicap at
Gulfstream Feb. 9.
“To have horses of the magnitude of Mucho Macho Man, Will Take Charge
and Game On Dude involved in the Big ’Cap this year is extraordinary,”
said Tom Ludt, Senior Vice President, Racing & Gaming, Stronach
Group. “The last time we had a rematch of this magnitude was in the
1988 Big ’Cap, when Ferdinand and Alysheba got together. When you
consider that Game On Dude could be going for a record-breaking third
win in the race—it’s just unbelievable. We want to thank all of those
who have committed to running and those who are considering it. It’s
going to be a terrific day.”
First post time on Santa Anita Handicap Day, Saturday, March 8, will be
at 12 noon.