Taking advantage of a contested pace and a little racing luck, Mucho
pulled off a 41-1 shocker in Saturday’s $150,000 Fort
Lauderdale (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
The 4-year-old gelding, who raced well off the pace in ninth into
the stretch, unleashed a strong outside drive under jockey Juan Leyva to
produce an $85.20 win payoff with a neck decision over Tiz Sardonic
Trainer Henry Collazo, who visited the Gulfstream winner’s circle
for the first time this season, wasn’t as surprised as the bettors who
regarded the son of Macho Uno as a rank outsider. Pleased with an
obvious abundance of speed horses in a field that was reduced to 10
after the scratch of morning-line favorite Dominus, the Calder-based
trainer was also buoyed by a recent ‘bullet’ five-furlong workout over
the Gulfstream course last Sunday.
“When I brought him here last week, he worked fantastic – a minute
around the ‘dogs. I’ll take that any day of the week,” Collazo said.
Mucho Mas Macho again showed a distinct fondness for the Gulfstream
grass in the stretch but settled well off the pace as Fifty Proof set a
solid pace into the backstretch while being stalked by Quick With and
Tiz Sardonic Joe. After turning for home, the field bunched up for the
drive to the wire with several horses failing to get a clear run through
the lane. Leyva positioned his mount clear on the outside, and the
$19,000 purchase of Signal Hill Farms kicked in with an impressive late
burst to pull off the upset.
“With this horse, I don’t have much choice. I just let him fall back
and at the half-mile pole, I started to urge him a little bit. Down the
lane I just tried to get a clear patch for him to run, because he has a
tremendous kick,” Leyva said.
Tiz Sardonic Joe, ridden by Jose Lezcano, held second, a length
ahead of Big Blue Kitten and jockey Javier Castellano. Nikki’s
Sandcastle, the 2-1 favorite who had already won two stakes at the
Gulfstream meeting, finished fourth under Corey Lanerie, another head
Mucho Mas Macho ran the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:40.39 to collect
his first graded-stakes victory and the $90,000 winner’s share of the
“He’s getting better because like of the Macho Uno’s when they turn
of age. Ever since he was a 2-year-old, I’ve been saying, ‘More distance
and a little bit more maturity, the sky’s the limit,’” Collazo said.
“Ever since he went on the grass and I saw his stride on grass, I told
the owner that we got to stay on the grass, and the further the better.”
Collazo said the Fort Lauderdale would be a stepping stone for the
$150,000 Mac Diarmida (G2) on Feb. 16 and the $150,000 Pan American (G3)
on March 23.