Dak Attack Back in Action for Saturday’s Mucho Macho Man
Jan 3, 2018
Undefeated Colt Takes First Step on Road to G1 Florida Derby
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL
– Undefeated Dak Attack is scheduled to make a highly anticipated return to action in Saturday’s $100,000 Mucho Macho Man, the first stakes for newly turned 3-year-olds on Gulfstream Park’s Road to the March 31 Florida Derby (G1).
Trained by Dale Romans for Albaugh Family Stable and Brereton Jones, the son of Ghostzapper hasn’t raced since Aug. 20 after impressively winning the first two starts of his career.
“He had a little shin issue,” Romans said. “We had to back off with him, but he’s back at the top of his game now.”
Dak Attack, a $625,000 yearling purchase at the 2016 Keeneland September sale, debuted at Churchill Downs June 15 with a sharp 1 ¼-length victory at 5 ½ furlongs that became all the noteworthy when runner-up Sporting Chance went on to break his maiden and win the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga. Dak Attack came back to capture the seven-furlong Ellis Park Juvenile by three lengths Aug. 20 before going to the sidelines.
“They paid more than $600,000 for him, so he’s always had big hype,” Romans said. “He’s always been the perfect horse. He does everything right; he’s smart; good physically, He’s got good pedigree; he has the whole package.”
Jockey Robby Albarado has the return mount for the one-turn mile stakes.
“It’s a good start back for him,” Romans said. “He hasn’t gone farther than six furlongs yet, so it’s a good race to get him started.”
Cairoli Racing Stable’s Santiamen is also scheduled to seek his third victory without a loss in the Mucho Macho Man. Trained by Antonio Sano, who also entered Forever Taken, the 3-year-old colt will be making his first start beyond six furlongs after rallying from off the pace in his first two starts.
By Dialed In, the sire of Sano-trained Pegasus World Cup Invitational contender Gunnevera, Santiamen graduated ‘handily’ by 6 ¾ lengths at 5 ½ furlongs in his debut at Gulfstream Park West Nov. 24. The Florida-bred colt came back to win a six-furlong optional claiming allowance Dec. 21 at Gulfstream Park, rallying from fifth to score by a half-length.
“In his last race he threw a shoe,” Sano said. “He’s been training very good and I think the distance is going to be good for my horse.”
Irad Ortiz Jr. is scheduled to ride Santiamen for the first time.
Secure Investments’ Forever Taken, who is scheduled to be ridden by Jesus Rios, finished fourth after a rougt start last time out in the Smooth Air, a one-turn mile stakes at Gulfstream Dec. 9.
“He ran a good race in his last race. I think the distance will be good for him,” Sano said.
Red Oak Stable’s Bal Harbour and Black Cloud Stable’s Whereshetoldmetogo, who finished 1-2, respectively, in the Smooth Air, are slated for a return in the Mucho Macho Man.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Bal Harbour came off a three-month layoff following a victory in the Sapling at Monmouth, to overcome bumping at the start to catch Whereshetoldmetogo by a neck.
John Velazquez has been named to ride the son of First Samurai.
Pletcher also entered Coltandmississippi, who finished fifth in the Smooth Air after capturing an optional claiming allowance by six lengths at Gulfstream Park West. Luis Saez has the mount.
Anthony Pecoraro-trained Whereshetoldmetogo won the First State Dash at Delaware Park in September. Tyler Gaffalione has the return mount.
Lane’s End Racing’s Mask, an impressive debut winner at Belmont Oct. 20, is set for a return in the Mucho Macho Man. In his first race the Chad Brown-trained son of Tapit scored by three lengths his 6 ½-furlong debut over the Pletcher-trained Navistar, who came back to break his maiden at Gulfstream Park in December.
Javier Castellano has the return mount aboard the $685,000 yearling purchase.
Baru, Inc.’s Handsome Franco, a graded-stakes winner in Puerto Rico who finished off the board in the Smooth Air, rounds out the field. Trainer Alexis Cordero-Lopez named Juan Diaz to ride the son of Curlin.