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Breeders' Cup 2017
HRN Original Blog:
From Coast to Coast

Mucho Macho Man to Improve Next Out

Mucho Macho Man 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire
Two big names returned to the starting gate today, and when the dust had settled, one was a triumphant victor and the other had settled for third. The reactions could not have been more different either. While most heralded Paynter’s return to the races as a victory in and of itself for the simple fact that less than a year ago he was not expected to survive, many of those same people were not willing to go so easy on Mucho Macho Man who was also returning after an illness, albeit not one nearly as severe as Paynter’s had been.
Mucho Macho Man began his 2013 campaign with an attempt to repeat in the Sunshine Millions Classic, but an off track led to him being eased by jockey Mike Smith. Trainer Kathy Ritvo decided to give him a break following his less than stellar 2013 debut, a decision that could not come at a better time.  He was shipped to Fair Hill for his break and there recovered from both a mild virus and a subsequent bacterial infection.
He returned to training in early April, and by the latter part of May, his connections and veterinarians felt that he could move forward with his training to the point of being ready to race, according to a statement given by Finn Green, Racing Manager for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. The spot chosen for Mucho Macho Man’s comeback race this year could not have been any different than the spot chosen for his 2011 comeback, however.
The son of Macho Uno was entered in a NW3X allowance at Aqueduct following his layoff after the rigors of his Triple Crown campaign. That day the colt was an easy 5 ¾ length victory. The field assembled for today’s Criminal Type Stakes could easily have made up a graded stakes field, a fact in stark contrast to the field Mucho Macho Man faced back in 2011. With Hymn Book and San Pablo in the field, Mucho Macho Man would have to work for a victory.
Though he had been working steadily at Fair Hill since April, Mucho Macho Man was far from being fully cranked for today’s race. He entered the starting gate off two straight bullet works, a 5 furlong work in 59:80 and a 4 furlong work in 48 flat. Despite the bullet status of those two works, it should be kept in mind that they came at Fair Hill. His four previous works were far from eye catching, which is not surprising when you consider Kathy Ritvo’s racing stats. Under her care, horses returning from a 61-180 day layoff have been winning at a 17% clip. Compare that to Todd Pletcher’s 24% clip and John Parisella's 40% clip for the same stat. Though a victory today would have been nice, this was not the ultimate goal and the multiple graded stakes winner’s connections were pleased with their horse’s performance.
Mucho Macho Man might have run third in his race today, but his effort was far from embarrassing. An overnight stakes victory was obviously not the goal for the colt right now. The Criminal Type was simply a spot in which to get the fan favorite back on his toes and into the swing of things. Considering that he was ill twice since his last race, I would say today’s effort was pretty darn respectable. Critics were quick to point out that he generally runs well fresh, but running well fresh and coming back after missing training are two different things. Don’t expect any retirement announcements anytime soon because we have not seen the last of Mucho Macho Man. 


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Older Comments about Mucho Macho Man to Improve Next Out...

people listen to what you are saying.tough field,johnny v was in a drive on the turn.hymn book was empty.MMM was awful.this is not a race you improve from.this is the type of race that maybe answers the question as to why he was laid up for so long.incredible how this is the trainers fault.yet when he wins the suburban and runs 2nd in the BC, it is all horse.the trainer had nothing to do with it.sad to say,because he has been a very good horse and a gamer.1 more repeat performance or may i say lack of performance and it might be time to lay him up.unless you want him running against allowance foes the rest of his career.
They could have scratched and looked for an easier spot, but then fans would have cried foul for him ducking competition. I was counting my winnings in the BCC, too. He looked like a winner, but Fort Larned was just too good that day.
Wow. Was unaware of that. I love MMM, and he was my pick for last year's BCC. Even drove the 25 miles to Oaklawn to put a $40 win bet on him. At the top of the stretch, I was counting my winnings. But, I do wish they would've selected easier goings for his return after illness. That would've also boosted his confidence, I believe.
I don't imagine they expected the Criminal Type to come up so tough, Jay. Yes, Ritvo has gotten a lot of criticism for how she has handled MMM. Some of her decisions I haven't necessarily liked myself, but MMM was foaled late. His dam Ponche de Leona was three weeks overdue, and when she finally did foal, MMM appeared dead for so long that his owners finally gave up on trying to revive him. As soon as they gave up, the little joker jumped up and starting running around. I think that entitles him to some special handling.
My question is...if the horse has been ill, not once but twice, why not build them back up to the likes of Hymn Book? Perhaps an allowance, like Paynter. I don't get it. I've read on HRN before where folks have stated MMM's trainer is the problem. I dismissed those comments. But now...are they right?
Very disappointing debut for Mucho Macho Man.
Even after being passed by San Pablos and Hymm book, he still fought gamely all the way to the wire. I thought he looked great out of the gate with his monstrous stride and his ears pricked.
He has never been too crazy about Belmont either, winning the Suburban nicely over a G3 field
yeah i think he just needs another race he didn't look 100%
I know I'm not giving up on him!

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.


Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.


An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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