Dream Team Racing Stable
and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing
were certainly living the dream today. With fan favorite Mucho Macho Man
as the heavy favorite in today's Gulfstream Park Handicap
, it looked as though nothing could wrong. In fact, nothing did go wrong. Under jockey Ramon Dominguez
, "The Man" had the perfect trip. Mucho Macho Man broke from the rail and took up a stalking postition behind pacesetter and local favorite Tackleberry
. Tackleberry posted a very comfortable 24 and change first quarter, but Dominguez moved Mucho Macho Man up into contention to press the pace, forcing Tackleberry into a 22 and change second quarter. By the quarter pole, Mucho Macho Man had wrested control of the race away from the pacesetter and edged clear of his rival when pressured. Tackleberry could not hold off Mucho Macho Man and finished second, two lengths behind the winner. Jackson Bend
completed the trifecta, only a half length behind Tackleberry despite a mile not being his best distance. Cajun Breeze finished fourth, and Clean Shot finished a well-beaten fifth. Soaring Stocks was scratched in favor of a 6 1/2 furlong allowance optional claiming race on tomorrow's card.
I had the good fortune to spend a good part of the afternoon with Kostas Hatzikoutelis and some of the other partners of Dream Team Racing Stable. Needless to say, they were all very ecstatic that their colt came home winner. Hatzikoutelis made the comment that the race was turning into a two horse affair, with most of the money going to Mucho Macho Man and Jackson Bend. When I questioned him further, he responded with his characteristic teasing nature, "Well, I'm keeping an eye on the 1 horse..."
After the race, I spoke with Hatzikoutelis again, asking him about future plans for Mucho Macho Man. "Right now, we're going to enjoy this victory and discuss possible options," he replied. "We obviously have a lot of options at this time, but the major Grade 1 races are later in the year."
Mucho Macho Man looked fantastic winning today's race. In the winner's circle, he was still quite full of himself, as if the race were merely a stroll around the track rather than a solid 1:35.50 showing. All year long I have heard about how he has filled out since last year, and, after seeing him myself, I can confirm that. He is huge! Magnificent! I could continue with the superlatives, but I think my point has been made. As for professionalism, again, text book perfect. During the post parade and pre-race warm-ups, he was "cool as a cucumber," as Hatzikoutelis put it. All around, a flawless performance from a colt who is sure to continue to be a big presence in the handicap division this year.