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Mucho Macho Man Delivers in Suburban

Mucho Macho Man established himself as a major player in his division Saturday, taking the lead on the far turn and leaving a stellar field in his wake en route to 2 ½-length victory over Hymn Book in the Grade 2, $350,000 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park.

 

Under his new jockey, Hall of Famer Mike Smith, the 4-year-old Macho Uno colt shadowed Trickmeister through early fractions of 23.06 and 45.68 seconds, with 7-5 choice To Honor and Serve in hot pursuit. Moving up on the far turn in tandem with the favorite, Mucho Macho Man stuck a nose in front approaching the quarter-pole and never looked back as he opened up on his six rivals through the stretch, hitting the wire in 1:46.58 for the 1 1/8 miles.

 

Hymn Book, who stumbled leaving the gate, rallied from last to gain second and was followed under the wire by Trickmeister, To Honor and Serve, Stay Thirsty, Buffum and Endorsement. Caixa Eletronica was scratched.

 

“I knew he was a nice horse, but he really, really impressed me,” said Smith, who came in from California to ride Mucho Macho Man. “From the time I got on him he was so confident. He left the gate in great order – for a big horse, he’s quick! I mean, every step was a winning one. I couldn’t believe how easy he beat [a strong field]. I mean, you put that bunch in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, your favorite is going to come out of this race. He just ran them off their feet.”

 

Trained by Kathy Ritvo for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Mucho Macho Man has now won three of his four starts this year, including the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap and the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic. His only loss came when he was third as the favorite in the Grade 2 Alysheba at Churchill Downs on May 4 immediately prior to the Suburban.

 

The 5-1 fourth choice, Mucho Macho Man returned $13.60 for a $2 win bet and earned $210,000, lifting his bankroll to $1,306,410 with a lifetime record of 6-3-4 from 16 starts.

 

“It was an awesome job by Mike Smith, Kathy [Ritvo], and everyone involved,” said winning owner Dean Reeves. “I’m so happy for my horse. He ran a good race, a solid race. This is really an extraordinary horse. He beat a great field of horses today.”

 

Hymn Book, the 2012 Donn Handicap winner who was one of three Grade 1 winners in the field along with To Honor and Serve (2011 Cigar Mile) and Stay Thirsty (2011 Travers), finished three lengths ahead of Trickmeister after dropping more than a dozen lengths out of it at the start.

 

“It’s just a shame we gave up that much at the break,” said Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey of Hymn Book, was second in the 2011 Suburban. “He stumbled leaving there, and by the time [jockey Alan Garcia] had him gathered up they were going pretty fast. He just got too far out of it to try to make up that much ground against that kind of horses. He passed all of them but one. I’m disappointed because I think if he could have been in a good position then he would have had a chance, but I’m pleased with the way he ran.”

 

The next start for Mucho Macho Man, who is stabled at Saratoga Race Course, could be the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap on August 4 or the Grade 1 Woodward on September 1, both at 1 1/8 miles.

 

“We’re going to take it slow and see what happens,” said Ritvo. “We’ll make sure he comes back great and we’ll look again [at what’s next].”

 


 

 

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