After the impressive
performance of Ron the Greek in the 2013 Sunshine Millions Classic, on the same day of
the Eclipse Awards, trainer Bill Mott was reminded that Ron the Greek was the only horse to have beaten Wise Dan in 2012. His comments had the gathered
press laughing out loud. “They always say that Wise Dan got beat, but they
never say who beat him. He only got beat once and it was on the dirt. I’d like
to get a little more PR for poor old Ron. You know we love Ron.”
Mott’s comment, of course,
refers to Ron the Greek’s victory over by a head over Wise Dan in the Stephen
Foster in June at Churchill Downs.
The 2013 Sunshine Millions
Classic was a rematch from last year in which Mucho Macho Man defeated Ron the Greek by 1½ lengths. According to
the bettors this race was not supposed to be close. Mucho Macho Man was sent
off the overwhelming 1-5 favorite and Bill Mott’s horse was 3-1.
The bettors were very
wrong as Ron the Greek drew off in the stretch to win by open lengths as track
announcer Larry Collmus described, “Ron the Greek in a dominant performance.”
The fractions were fast in
the race (23.19, 46.59, 1:11.03, 1:36.06) as Ron the Greek sat off the early
leaders. Mott described the race, “Heading down the backside he was five or six
lengths off the lead. It looked like he was into the bridle and running
well. He (jockey Jose Lezcano) put
him into a drive around the turn and he shook loose and the rest is history.”
Mucho Macho Man had been
training impressively at Gulfstream Park prior to the Sunshine Millions. Trainer Kathy Ritvo decided to put blinkers
back on him for his 2013 debut. Rain in the morning made the track sloppy for
the race and Mucho Macho Man had only run on a wet track once before. On that
day he finished a distant seventh place in the 2011 Belmont Stakes.
Mucho Macho Man broke
alertly and ran with the leaders until he was shuffled back in the first turn.
He quickly made up the ground down the backstretch. Entering the clubhouse turn
he made a strong move on the outside and appeared to be on his way. However midway through the turn, Mucho
Macho Man began to fade and ended up being eased by Jockey Mike Smith.
After the race Ritvo could
not find anything wrong with her star. Clearly the sloppy track was not to his
liking and the change of equipment may have been a factor.
Mott said they plan to
follow last year’s race schedule in which Ron the Greek followed the Sunshine
Millions with a victory in the Santa Anita Handicap, a second in the Oaklawn
Handicap, and the Stephen Foster win.
For now it is time to give Ron the Greek all of the accolades that Mott
feels he deserves.