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‘Mas Macho’ Pays ‘Mucho’ After Fort Lauderdale Win
Taking advantage of a contested pace and a little racing luck, Mucho Mas Macho pulled off a 41-1 shocker in Saturday’s $150,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
The 4-year-old gelding, who raced well off the pace in ninth into the stretch, unleashed a strong outside drive under jockey Juan Leyva to produce an $85.20 win payoff with a neck decision over Tiz Sardonic Joe.
Trainer Henry Collazo, who visited the Gulfstream winner’s circle for the first time this season, wasn’t as surprised as the bettors who regarded the son of Macho Uno as a rank outsider. Pleased with an obvious abundance of speed horses in a field that was reduced to 10 after the scratch of morning-line favorite Dominus, the Calder-based trainer was also buoyed by a recent ‘bullet’ five-furlong workout over the Gulfstream course last Sunday.
“When I brought him here last week, he worked fantastic – a minute around the ‘dogs. I’ll take that any day of the week,” Collazo said.
Mucho Mas Macho again showed a distinct fondness for the Gulfstream grass in the stretch but settled well off the pace as Fifty Proof set a solid pace into the backstretch while being stalked by Quick With and Tiz Sardonic Joe. After turning for home, the field bunched up for the drive to the wire with several horses failing to get a clear run through the lane. Leyva positioned his mount clear on the outside, and the $19,000 purchase of Signal Hill Farms kicked in with an impressive late burst to pull off the upset.
“With this horse, I don’t have much choice. I just let him fall back and at the half-mile pole, I started to urge him a little bit. Down the lane I just tried to get a clear patch for him to run, because he has a tremendous kick,” Leyva said.
Tiz Sardonic Joe, ridden by Jose Lezcano, held second, a length ahead of Big Blue Kitten and jockey Javier Castellano. Nikki’s Sandcastle, the 2-1 favorite who had already won two stakes at the Gulfstream meeting, finished fourth under Corey Lanerie, another head back.
Mucho Mas Macho ran the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:40.39 to collect his first graded-stakes victory and the $90,000 winner’s share of the purse.
“He’s getting better because like of the Macho Uno’s when they turn of age. Ever since he was a 2-year-old, I’ve been saying, ‘More distance and a little bit more maturity, the sky’s the limit,’” Collazo said. “Ever since he went on the grass and I saw his stride on grass, I told the owner that we got to stay on the grass, and the further the better.”
Collazo said the Fort Lauderdale would be a stepping stone for the $150,000 Mac Diarmida (G2) on Feb. 16 and the $150,000 Pan American (G3) on March 23.