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Ron the Greek Ready for Rematch

Ron The Greek, with Jose Lezcano aboard wins the 2012 Santa Anita Handicap at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia California on March 03, 2012.

Ron the Greek began and ended his 2012 racing season in races in which he finished behind Mucho Macho Man, who defeated him by 1 ½ lengths while winning the $400,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Classic and was more than seven lengths ahead of him while finishing second in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“We're taking on a top horse in Mucho Macho Man,” said trainer Bill Mott, who entered Ron the Greek for a rematch in Saturday’s Florida Sunshine Millions Classic. “He's been working very well and it seems like he's very sharp, so he'll just have to see what happens.”

Ron the Greek’s fourth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, in which Fort Loudon edged Mucho Macho Man by a half-length, was a better performance that it might appear. After getting off to an awkward start, the 6-year-old son of Full Mandate closed well on the outside over the speed-favoring track.

“He's doing well enough. He came out of the Breeders' Cup and had a short, brief vacation. Obviously, nothing too long or we wouldn't be running here. He's come back and we got a few works in him,” Mott said.

Ron the Greek, who captured the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) and the Stephen Foster (G1) at Churchill Downs between his meetings with Mucho Macho Man, may have earned a long rest, but Mott wasn’t about to give him one.

“He's an older horse and I don't think an extended vacation at this point in time would necessarily be the right thing for a horse like him. Sometimes it's hard to bring them back in peak form if you're off too long, and there was no reason to lay off for an extended period of time.,” Mott said. “He came back fine. We got him back to Florida, and he had nearly three weeks without training. He was just turned out in the paddock, and we brought him right back into full training.”

Mott will also be represented in the Florida Sunshine Millions by Star Harbour, who’ll make his stakes debut in the $150,000 Sprint.

“He just shipped down from NY. He breezed (Monday) morning. He went well and if all is in good shape we'll be running him," Mott said.

The Sprint hasn’t been a long-range target.

“I always knew he was eligible for this spot. We entered for a race in New York and it didn't go. He frankly has never been fond of (Aqueduct’s) inner-track anyway,” Mott said. “We raced him up there last winter. He won before and after the inner-track but he doesn't seem to fire his best shot on the inner-track. So we thought this would be a competitive race and a good option for us.”

Star Harbour, a 5-year-old son of Indian Charlie, is coming off back-to-back allowance victories at Belmont Park and Aqueduct’s main track.

 

 

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