Despite finishing last in the G3 Derby Trial, Dream Team Racing Stable is happy with where their colt Saint of Saints is. Shortly after the race, I spoke with Kostas Hatzikoutelis, one of the partners of DTRS, about Saint’s performance, and Hatzikoutelis told me that Saint of Saints had tried to jump over the puddles covering Churchill Downs’ track surface. Though not the safest of ways to get around the track, Saint came out of the race just fine, and the DTRS partners were very pleased with the professional manner in which the colt conducted himself in the paddock.
Running on a sloppy track and under the lights in just his third start provided several new experiences for the colt, who had previously only raced on Gulfstream Park’s fast track. Even though he did not have race day experience over a muddy track, Hatzikoutelis stated that he had trained well over muddy surfaces during his early training and that the less than ideal conditions did not contribute to his last place finish. “If anything, he was just too smart,” Hatzikoutelis declared. “He knew it [the muddy surface] wasn’t quite right and simply was just not going to run through it.” He continued on, joking, “What really got to him was that they [the Churchill Downs officials] spelled his name wrong. We’re sure it’s just an honest mistake by the printers; the people around Churchill Downs are good folks and they are certainly busy during this time of year. But I told you he was smart!”
Right now, the DTRS team has not laid out any plans for the colt. He will continue to train, and a race will be selected based on how he trains. There are plenty of big purse opportunities available later in the year, and if he is ready, he will likely be pointed to any number of the big summer and fall races.
Mucho Macho Man, another Dream Team Racing Stable colt, represents the stable on Friday in the G2 Alysheba Stakes. The Macho Uno colt’s two Gulfstream wins were flattered by Ron the Greek and Jackson Bend’s next-out Grade 1 wins, and DTRS is confident about the colt’s chances in the Alysheba. “We have a great spot [post 4]. Obviously we did not want to be hung on the outside. With where he is, he will be able to break well and contest the lead. We expect a good stalking position, but we are just going to go out and run our race. He is sitting well coming into this race,” Hatzikoutelis expounded. When asked about Nates Mineshaft and Successful Dan and if they were viewed as Mucho Macho Man’s biggest threats in the race, Kostas stressed, “He [Nate’s Mineshaft] is a good horse and doing well. Successful Dan is obviously well touted and a horse for course. The thing is, you cannot count anybody out in race at this level. You have to earn your wins in graded stakes races.”
Future plans for Mucho Macho Man all depend on the colt himself. As with all their horses, DTRS likes to manage one race at the time and enjoy each day as it comes. They generally do not plan too far ahead, but if Mucho Macho Man comes out of the Alysheba in great shape, then seeing him in the G1 Stephen Foster Handicap and/or the G2 Suburban Handicap is not out of the question; the ultimate goal for the Macho Uno colt this year is the Breeders' Cup Championship Races at Santa Anita. As for more long-term plans, Hatzikoutelis debunked the rumor that Mucho Macho Man will be retired at the end of the year. “As long as he stays sound, happy, and healthy, we would like to run next year,” he confirmed. “Of course, that is ultimately up to Mucho Macho Man. Any decision we make will be based on the horse’s best interest. Hats off the the connections of Havre de Grace. They were put in a tough spot when they decided to go ahead and retire her. She was at the top of her game, but ultimately their decision was in her best interests, and you have to respect that.”