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Zipse At The Track

Mucho Macho Man and My Happy Face Return

Mucho Macho Man 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire


They may only be overnight stakes, but Friday’s $90,000 Criminal Type Stakes, and Thursday’s Lotka Stakes for the same purse, have attracted a couple of very big names to consecutive weekday afternoons at Belmont Park.


Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up, Mucho Macho Man will look to make a triumphant return in the mile-and-a-sixteenth Criminal Type, carded as the 3rd race on Friday. The 5-year-old millionaire hasn't made it back to the races since not being persevered with after disliking the track nearly five months ago in a sloppy edition of the Sunshine Millions Classic. 


Expected to be a heavy favorite on Friday, only four others will test Reeves Racing runner in his return. The number may be small, but the quality is actually pretty high. Breaking from the 1 and 3 posts respectively are multiple stakes winners, Hymn Book and San Pablo. The former comes in off a third place finish in the Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs, while the latter disappointed last time when sixth in the Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park. Edgar Prado will have the mount on Mucho Macho Man, who will break from the five-hole as the 121 pound co-highweight. He will run with blinkers off in the Criminal Type. 


Third in the Kentucky Derby in 2011, the son of Macho Uno won half of his six starts last year, including an ultra-impressive score at Belmont Park in the Grade 2 Suburban last July. While the Criminal Type is clearly just a restart to the season, Mucho Macho Man should be ready to account himself well. Showing a steady stream of workouts at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, the big horse is coming off a strong :48 second breeze on Saturday, the fastest of 31 at the distance. 




One day earlier, the $90,000 Lotka, also scheduled as race 3, has attracted the returning My Happy Face. The daughter of Tiz Wonderful will be making her first start for trainer Chad Brown, after being transferred from the barn of Rudy Rodriguez, in the flat mile affair.


Much like Mucho Macho Man, My Happy Face was last seen at the races at Gulfstream Park. Second in the Forward Gal that day, she has never finished worse than that in five lifetime starts. After running a good second in her career debut, My Happy Face made a name for herself by winning  a special weight at the Spa by 21 ¼ lengths on August 31. Validating that maiden breaking performance, the gray filly gave the topnotch, Dreaming of Julia everything she could possibly want in the Grade 1 Frizette in her next outing. After that, a gutsy win in the Grade 3 Tempted closed out a successful Juvenile season.


My Happy Face couldn’t match strides with the fleet Kauai Katie in Florida, but it was another solid performance that would have set her up well for a run at the Kentucky Oaks, but a virus knocked her off that trail. She has been working well for her new trainer, and looks to be the class of a seven-horse field in the Lotka, with the streaking Bliss looking like her toughest competition. 


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Older Comments about Mucho Macho Man and My Happy Face Return...

This horse was not primed to fire at all. Hopefully next out he is ready.
Graded stakes are in My Happy Face's immediate future ... solid win.
♫♪ '...Macho, macho man (macho man) I've got to be, a macho man Macho, macho man I've got to be a macho! Ow.... ' ♫♪
terri.zeitz, thanks for the information.
Finn Green, the Reeves' stable manager, discusses Mucho Macho Man and how he's overcome his illness on his facebook page.
I was kinda wondering if something was a miss or if they missed some training with him, because I thought for sure he was going to run in the Met Mile this year. Glad to see the big horse back. Hopefully they can get him ready for Saratoga and the Whitney handicap.
Mucho Macho Man had been ill with a virus he contracted when he was in South Florida. He then went for hyperbaric treatment and rehab at Fairhill as he had a lung infection secondary to the viral infection. Mike Smith realized something was wrong with him in the paddock and then when he didn't respond on the track he pulled him up. I applaud MMM's wonderful team for all of his rehab work and keeping him in the game. Best of luck to MMM and his team. If you want to check up on the story, check with his trainer.
I was just on the verge of emailing Patti when I saw the good news about Mucho Macho Man's return. Wishing the big guy well!
Two overnight stakes for $90,000 and there is a MSW on Wednesday with a purse of $85,000. Belmont Park has got the slots money flowing!

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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