Aqueduct Racetrack’s third race on
Wednesday, a $55,000 allowance/optional claiming event for 3-year-olds and up,
will mark the return of graded stakes winner and Kentucky Derby third-place
finisher Mucho Macho Man.
The one-mile race will be Mucho Macho Man’s first start since a
seventh in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes on June 11. His record also includes
runner-up finishes behind To Honor and Serve in the Grade 2 Nashua and Grade 2
Remsen at Aqueduct a year ago and a victory in the Grade 2 Risen Star in
February at the Fair Grounds.
“After the Belmont,
we wanted to give him time off,” said Dean Reeves, whose Reeves
Thoroughbred Partnership owns Mucho Macho Man with Dream Team One Racing
Stable. “The Triple Crown was a tough campaign and we knew we wanted to
give him two-three months off. Most trainers told me if you take two months off
it takes two months to get back, so about in mid-August he started back
training [in Saratoga] with jogs, gallops up to his breezes. He developed a
little soreness so we backed off, then brought him to Belmont. Then he started breezing and we
began to dial in on a race; he went a strong five furlongs and began building a
foundation, and then six- and seven-furlong works, and now we think he’s
fit and ready to go.”
Reeves said the team’s long-term objectives for Mucho Macho Man
include January’s Sunshine Millions Classic and November’s
Breeders’ Cup Classic, both at Santa Anita.
Trainer Kathy Ritvo said Wednesday’s race, which is restricted to
horses who have never won three races or are entered for a $35,000 claiming
price, is a good spot for Mucho Macho Man to make his comeback.
“He’s actually grown up a lot,” she added.
“It’s going to be a competitive race, but we have to start
Mucho Macho Man is slated to face six opponents, including Gallant Fields, a 4-year-old who enters the
race off an 8 ¼-length victory in an entry-level allowance contested in the
slop on September 5 at Saratoga Race Course. He received a Beyer Speed Figure
of 100 for the effort.
“He came out of the race very well,” said Artie Magnuson,
assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “He’s had some time
[between races], which he needed every bit of, but he is a sound horse.
He’s a gelding now and he needed every bit of the time to keep the weight
on him, but he came out of it great. Hopefully, we won’t see him bounce.
All systems are ‘go.’ We’re hoping he could make some of the
stakes and things like that if he takes that next step.”
Gallant Fields has made three total starts for McLaughlin, finishing
second in a Parx Racing allowance in July and third in a Saratoga allowance in August prior to his
most recent start. Previously, he had raced for Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito,
compiling a record of 1-0-1 from four starts in 2010.