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Breeders' Cup 2017

Mucho Macho Man Puts in Six Furlong Work for Woodward

Mucho Macho Man 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire

Multiple graded stakes winner Mucho Macho Man returned to the worktab on Saturday, putting in a six-furlong breeze in advance of his next start in the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward on August 31.


Trained by Kathy Ritvo for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, the 5-year-old son of Macho Uno was clocked in 1:14.43 on the main track. Mucho Macho Man had not worked since his third-place finish in the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational Handicap on August 3.


"He went good, very good," Ritvo said. "He was very strong today. He came out of his race really good and showed us that he's ready to get ready to run again. He's very sharp; he can't be doing any better."


Mucho Macho Man is 0-for-3 in 2013, including a third in the Criminal Type at Belmont Park on June 14, but he won the Grade 2 Suburban and was second in the Woodward and Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic in the second half of 2012.


"He ran a monster race [in the Whitney]," Ritvo said. "It's been kind of a slow start to this year, but he's picking it up. He'll be running his third race [off a layoff] in the Woodward, and it should be a good one."


Mucho Macho Man has a record of 6-5-6 from 21 lifetime starts, with purse earnings of $2,440,410. He competed in all three legs of the 2011 Triple Crown, including a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.


"I don't understand how you can find a more consistent horse," Ritvo said. "He ran a good race coming back in the Criminal Type, and he took a huge step to the Whitney. Huge."


*           *           *


With exercise rider Cindy Hutter aboard, Lighthouse Bay breezed five furlongs in 1:01.21 on the main track Saturday morning for trainer George Weaver.


It was the first work for the 3-year-old Speightstown filly following her half-length upset of the Grade 1 Prioress on July 27 at odds of 21-1.


"It went really smooth," Weaver said. "I made the decision to only work her once. The fact that she worked in 1:01 and change was good because usually by herself she can very easily have gone much slower. She's not a horse that goes over there and is a flashy work horse. I took it as a sign that she was eager and wanting to go as well as she did."


Lighthouse Bay will make her next start in the Grade 1, $500,000 Test Stakes on the Travers undercard August 24. She stretches out to seven furlongs for the first time in the Test, having run as far as 6 ½ furlongs once, winning the Jostle Stakes at Parx Racing one start before the Prioress.


"She seems to be in fine form. Hopefully, she'll go over there and run her race for us on Travers Day," Weaver said. "They call it the Test, and it will be a test for her, but she has the right style to run a good seven furlongs. Until you do it, you don't know for sure, but we're delighted to be able to be pointing for the Test. She deserves to be in there after winning the Prioress, for sure."


*           *           *


On the sidelines since her gritty score in the Grade 3 Victory Ride on June 29 at Belmont Park, Paul Pompa Jr.'s Baby J worked six furlongs Saturday in 1:14.50 in preparation for the Grade 1 Test, a historic seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies on August 24.


"She went nice and easy and galloped out good, so we're going to take a shot at the Grade 1," trainer Patrick Reynolds said. "She won the Victory Ride. She got knocked sideways at the eighth pole and got up and got the job done. When you have a horse like that, you've got a good shot. She's a tryer and wants to do it."


Transferred to Reynolds' barn this spring, Baby J has won a six-furlong sprint gate-to-wire in the slop on May 8 at Belmont Park, finished third next out in an optional claimer against older horses June 14 and then took the Victory Ride off two weeks' rest.


Discussing the loss, Reynolds said jockey Joel Rosario tried to harness Baby J's speed early, and she did not appreciate it.


"She's a speedball, and she sulked a little bit," Reynolds said. "It was a mistake in judgment and planning."


Reynolds said the win in the Victory Ride emboldened Pompa to shoot for the Test.


"He said let's lock and load and see if we can't stretch her [to seven furlongs]," Reynolds said. "It's the Test. It's a big race. Everyone knows the Test. We have our fingers crossed."



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On August 25, Mucho Macho Man breezed 5F in 1.03:50 (4/5) at Saratoga.

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