Mucho Macho Man
, who captured the $500,000 Florida Sunshine Millions
Classic last season, will launch his 2013 season with a title defense in
showcase of the six-race $1.3 million event for Florida-bred horses at
Gulfstream on Jan. 19.
“We thought it was the ideal place to start,” said trainer Kathy
Ritvo, who worked with Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s stable manager, Finn
Green, on the decision to target the 1 1/8-race Classic.
The soon-to-be 5-year-old launched a highly successful 2012 campaign
with a 1 ½-length triumph over Ron the Greek in 1 1/8-mile Classic. The
son of Macho Uno went on to win the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) and
Suburban Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park, before finishing a troubled
second in the Woodward (G1) at Saratoga. He completed his season with a
close second-place finish in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1),
in which he engaged Fort Larned during a thrilling stretch-long duel,
only to fall a half-length short of victory.
"On Saturday morning, he’ll go three-eighths of a mile in
preparation for the Sunshine Millions here on the 19th of January,”
Green said. “It’s a great race to go back into after the Breeders’ Cup
Classic, a fantastic race for him to get back.”
Mucho Macho Man, who picked up $900,000 for his stirring runner-up
finish at Santa Anita on Nov. 3, has earned $2.3 million in purses while
compiling an impressive resume that includes a third-place finish in
the 2011 Kentucky Derby. He’s come painfully close, but he has yet to
win a Grade 1 stakes. His connections had the option to bypass the
Florida Sunshine Millions Classic in favor of the $500,000 Donn Handicap
(G1) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 9.
“He’ll catch plenty of Grade 1s this year, but this is best race to go into after that race,” Green said.
The Florida Sunshine Millions will be conducted as a prelude to the
44th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony, which will be held for the first
time at a racetrack on the evening of Jan. 19 in Gulfstream Park’s Sport
of Kings facility.
Mucho Macho Man will prepare for his first start of the season with
his first workout since his brilliant performance from his outside post
position in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“He’s done great. He’s come out of the race great,” Ritvo said. “He came out fantastic and he’s shown us all the right signs.”
Mucho Macho Man’s connections said they’ll take his 2013 campaign one race at a time.
“We have a plan, but we’re just going to start with this one,” Ritvo said.