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'Mucho' and 'Rogue' Hit The Road
By Ed Gray & Jack Will
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Kathy Ritvo-trained Mucho Macho Man and Ken McPeek-trained Rogue Romance boarded a Sallee van on the Gulfstream Park backstretch Wednesday morning for the first leg of a journey that included a flight from West Palm Beach to New Orleans.
The highly regarded 3-year-olds will compete in Saturday’s Risen Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds.
Mucho Macho Man will be making his second start of 2011, having finished fourth as the beaten favorite in the Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 30. After getting bumped in the chute leading to the backstretch, the son of Macho Uno was involved in a pressured pace before coming up short through the stretch in the one-turn stakes for 3-year-olds.
“He came out of the race perfect. He’s ready to run,” said Ritvo, whose colt finished just 4 ½ lengths behind victorious Dialed In. “The last race didn’t take too much out of him. He needed that race, I think. We wouldn’t consider coming back in three weeks if he wasn’t doing great.”
Ritvo expects Mucho Macho Man to be better suited to the two turns of the 1-1/16-mile Risen Star, in which he will be ridden by Eibar Coa.
“He definitely needs two turns,” said Ritvo, whose colt finished second to highly regarded To Honor and Serve at 1-1/8 miles in the Nashua (G2) and Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct last fall.
Rogue Romance will be making his first start since finishing a distant third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs last November. The son of Smarty Jones was forced five-wide on the first turn after breaking from an outside post position, but recovered well enough to save the show behind undefeated Uncle Mo and Boys at Tosconova.
Rogue Romance’s previous three starts were all on turf, including a last-to-first victory in the Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland and a maiden score at Saratoga.
“I think it’s a good spot for us. They made him 3-1,” said McPeek, whose colt was installed as the morning-line favorite, while Mucho Macho Man was rated second at 4-1. “It’s a good spot for him to make his first start.”
McPeek, who has named Julien Leparoux to ride Rogue Romance, also shipped Kathmanblu and Beautician for stakes starts at Fair Grounds. Kathmanblu will be heavily favored in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G3), while Beautician will run in the Pan Zareta Stakes.
Kathmanblu closed out her 2010 campaign with a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2) and a victory in the Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs last fall. The daughter of Bluegrass Cat made a victorious return to action at Gulfstream Park on Jan 22, winning the Sweetest Chant Stakes by more than seven lengths on turf.
“Good horses run over any surface. I was more concerned about the two turns than I was the surface,” said McPeek, whose main priority for Kathmanblu’s first start was to find a two-turn race whether on grass or dirt.
The ultimate goal for Kathmanblu is the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 6.
Gourmet Dinner Drills Sharp Half-Mile for Fountain of Youth
Our Sugar Bear Stable’s 3-year-old colt Gourmet Dinner worked a strong half-mile in 47 3/5 Wednesday morning at Gulfstream Park for trainer Steve Standridge in preparation for his next start expected to be in the $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) to be run at 1 1/8 miles on Sat., Feb. 26 at Gulfstream.
With regular jockey Sebastian Madrid in the saddle, Gourmet Dinner posted his first workout since a game third-place finish in the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream on Jan. 30 when beaten only 1 ½ lengths by Dialed In after breaking from the one post in the one-mile, one-turn event.
A son of Trippi, Gourmet Dinner won four of six starts last year for earnings of more than $900,000, his biggest victory coming in the $1 million Delta Jackpot (G3) at Delta Downs in Louisiana in late November when he scored by 2 ¼ lengths over fellow Calder-based shipper Decisive Moment.
In one more start last year, Gourmet Dinner finished fourth in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity (G1) run over the ‘Cushion’ track surface at Hollywood Park on Dec. 18, following the well-documented delay of the race for a shoe repair to Comma to the Top, who won the race.
In addition to Gourmet Dinner, the list of probable/possible starters in the 65th edition of the Fountain of Youth includes Live Oak Plantation’s To Honor and Serve, Robert LaPenta’s Dialed In, Harvey Clarke and Craig Robertson’s Soldat, Martin Schwartz’ Bowman’s Causeway, Magdalena Racing’s Casper’s Touch and Michael Lauffer and W.D. Cubbedge’s Shackleford.
Trio of Fillies Entered for American Debuts in Friday Allowance
Three 4-year-old fillies that raced in Europe last year and now trained by high-profile horsemen are entered to make their first starts in North America in Friday’s $51,000 ‘a other than’ allowance feature going a marathon 1 7/16 miles on turf at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Christopher Clement sends out Newsells Park Stud’s Giants Play, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Giant’s Causeway that was purchased for $850,000 at the Keeneland September yearling stakes and posted a 7-1-1-3 record based in England with trainer Michael Stoute. In her final start last season she finished a close-up third in a ‘Listed’ stakes run on the ‘all-weather’ track at Lingfield in October.
Trainer Graham Motion has Rashit Shaykhutdinov’s German-bred La Luna de Miel in the field of 10 fillies and mares with John Velazquez getting the call. The daughter of Monsun made two starts in Germany last year, winning her debut at Hanover in April and finishing eighth in a ‘Listed’ stakes in Cologne on June 1 last out.
Trainer Patrick Biancone will be represented by Mrs. Paul Shanahan’s English-bred Champagnelifestyle and apprentice Ryan Curatolo named to ride. The daughter of Montjeu finished a close-up third in the ‘Listed’ Chester Oaks in May, but was never a threat finishing 10th of 15 behind European champion Snow Fairy in the Epsom Oaks (G1) in June.
Another contender in Friday’s race with experience racing in Europe is Happy Hill Farm’s Irish-bred 4-year-old filly Wet One with Edgar Prado in the saddle for trainer Peter Pugh. The daughter of Slickly made three starts in France last year and is still a maiden after finishing a strong third in a maiden special test over the Gulfstream course on Jan. 14, but had a rough trip through the stretch.
Completing the field for Friday’s race are Bruce Lunsford’s Distorted Legacy, Rajiv Maragh; Columbus Circle Partners’ Full Moon Party, Alan Garcia; Juddmonte Farm’s Silk Route, Kent Desormeaux; Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Kathern’s Kitten, Jose Lezcano; Synergy Racing Stable’s I’m Unforgettable, Alex Solis; Russell Reineman Stable’s Up in Lights, Julien Leparoux; and Palm Beach Racing Partnership’s Hot Cappucino; Paco Lopez.