Gulfstream Park News & Notes
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL– Mucho Macho Man breezed sharply Saturday morning for his scheduled 2014 debut in next Saturday’s $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park.
The 6-year-old Florida-bred worked a half-mile in 47 4/5 seconds before galloping out five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 under regular exercise rider Nick Petro Jr. Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s star worked well off the inside rail and finished strongly through the stretch in preparation for his first start since capturing the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.
“He worked great. It was nice to see him off the fence. It was a little deeper there,” said trainer Kathy Ritvo, noting that the four-path work was by design. “He’s a smart horse. He knows what he’s doing. My job is easy.”
Following the workout, Dean and Patti Reeves’ stable manager Finn Green said the 1 1/8-mile Classic, which will anchor the six-race $1.3 million Sunshine Millions card, is the perfect start-off point for Mucho Macho Man’s 2014 campaign.
“It gives us a lot of options. There are multiple options off that race for us,” Green said. “With the weather down here and the rain, we wanted to take the first short at a dry track that we could get. If it comes up wet we can go somewhere after that, but it launches us into February and March after that.
“If we get rained out of this race, we probably wouldn’t stay here and take a chance to get rained out of the Donn. We’d probably go to California and run in the race out there that is a prep for the Santa Anita Handicap (March 8),” added Green, referring to the San Antonio (G2) at Santa Anita on Feb. 8.
Mucho Macho Man, who has earned $5.3 million during his four-years of racing, captured the 2012 Sunshine Millions, but was pulled up in last year’s edition due to his dislike for sloppy going. If the sun shines on Saturday, the Classic will be the first step toward his camp’s ultimate goal of returning to Santa Anita at year’s end for a Breeders’ Cup Classic defense.
“This race also sets us up to go to several other places, even not in this country. The Dubai World Cup (March 29) is an option,” Green said. “We have three different paths we can go. One is the conventional route on dirt and the other two are on other surfaces. He’s definitely a mile-and-a-quarter horse, so this race sets us up for a couple of races out in front of us, one is in California and the other is somewhere else.”
Mucho Macho Man trained over the Tapeta synthetic surface at Fair Hill last spring and summer.
“They have Tapeta over there (in Dubai). He ran very well on Tapeta. We’ve worked him over it a couple times, and he had great action, great extension,” Green said. “But there are 100 and some-odd things that can go wrong between here and there and only one thing that can go right to go over there.”
Groupie Doll Returns to Track for Half-Mile Breeze
Mucho Macho Man was joined on the track Saturday morning by Groupie Doll, the two-time Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner who also breezed a half-mile in preparation for the final start of her brilliant career, possibly in the Hurricane Bertie (G3) on Feb. 9.
“It was kind of neat that she and Mucho Macho Man were standing out there together before they trained,” trainer Buff Bradley said. “Then, he took off and she went right after him.”
The 6-year-old daughter of Bowman’s Band breezed a half-mile in 49 4/5 seconds before galloping out five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 under exercise rider Jada Schlenk.
“She went really good. I told Jada to go between 49 and 50 (seconds). She said she had a ton of horse and telling her, ‘Whoa,’ the whole way. She went easy and galloped out good,” Bradley said. “She’s got a pretty good fitness level under her. She was at Gold Mark (Farm) and they kept her going there, so that helped. We’ve got three more works, so we’re good.”
Groupie Doll, the reigning female sprint champion who is a lock to repeat at the 43rdEclipse Award Ceremony at Gulfstream on Jan. 18, is scheduled to be bred to Tapit following her final start.
“This was a let’s-find-out-where-she-is work. I was pleased with her fitness level and she galloped out really strong and galloped probably another three-eighths of a mile,” Bradley said.
Just Call Kenny Back at Gulfstream Following Surgery
Just Call Kenny, the stylish winner of the Spectacular Bid Stakes last Saturday at Gulfstream Park, is recovering from surgery to repair a condylar fracture in his right foreleg. The handsome colt made an eye-catching rally to upset that $100,000 event, but was noticeably sore while cooling out afterwards. X-rays revealed the fracture, and trainer Pat McBurney shipped the 3-year-old to Ocala, Florida, for the operation. “The surgery went well,” McBurney confirmed. “Dr. [John] Madison did it up at Ocala Equine. He said that when he was looking into the scope the fracture line was so fine that he could hardly see it, so it should come back together nicely. He put two screws in there.” Just Call Kenny is expected to make a full recovery and has rejoined the McBurney string at Gulfstream.
“He’ll need 30 days’ stall rest and then 30 days of hand-walking,” McBurney explained. “Dr. Madison thought it would be completely healed by then and that he could get back to his racehorse jogging, so an x-ray after 60 days should tell that story.”Just Call Kenny, campaigned by a partnership that includes Phantom House Farm and ABL Stable, made a victorious career bow at Monmouth Park last August. He finished second in an allowance at Laurel Park on Oct. 2. The Spectacular Bid took his career earnings to $92,820. He is a son of the A.P. Indy stallion Jump Start, and McBurney is cautiously optimistic that Just Call Kenny will be able to fulfill to his early potential.“We had been intending to stretch him out and we’re hoping that can come to fruition at the end of all of this,” the horseman remarked. “We’re hoping he can be as good as he was—that would be nice.”