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Mucho Macho Man Confirmed for Gulfstream Park Handicap
By Ed Gray
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Trainer Kathy Ritvo set the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) on March 10 as the next start for multiple-stakes winner Mucho Macho Man. Ritvo gave the green light to the one-turn mile handicap after watching the 4-year-old son of Macho Uno breeze four furlongs Friday morning in :48.25 seconds at Gulfstream Park.
“He loves to train; he loves to get on the track,” said Ritvo, whose nephew, Nick Petro Jr., was aboard for her colt’s first work since capturing the $400,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Classic on Jan. 28. “He was out there standing for 20 minutes before we even backed up. He takes full advantage of being out on the track. He watched all the horses go by. When you take him to another track, he does the same thing.”
Mucho Macho Man, who finished third in last year’s Kentucky Derby (G1), was one of only three horses to compete in all three legs of last year’s Triple Crown. Following a troubled trip in the Belmont (G1) last June, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team One Racing’s colt was given a long vacation to mature into his large frame.
He returned to action with a stunning 5 ¾ -length romp in an optional claiming allowance at Aqueduct on Nov. 9 and followed up that one-turn, one-mile performance with a 1 ½ -length score at 1 1/8 miles in the two-turn Florida Sunshine Millions Classic.
Ritvo is not concerned about the turn-back to a one-turn mile.
“It won’t be a problem. He ran a very fast mile,” she said. “He’s gotten himself very relaxed, even in his works you can get him to settle right down and gallop out strong. He galloped out strong this morning,”
Ritvo also sent Silver Menace to the track for his first workout since a show placing in the Needles Stakes on Feb. 4. The 3-year-old son of Silver Wagon worked four furlongs in a swift 45.60 seconds under Petro to register the fastest of 17 clockings at the distance.
Following the workout, Ritvo confirmed that Silver Menace will run next in the $150,000 Swale Stakes (G2) on the Gulfstream Park Handicap undercard.
Silver Menace won his first two career starts in Illinois for trainer James DiVito before being sold to Reeves Thoroughbred Racing in December. He finished a troubled sixth in the 1 1/16-mile Gulfstream Park Derby two weeks after joining Ritvo’s barn before turning back to five furlongs on turf in the Needles as a prep for the seven-furlong Swale.
“That’s why we backed him up. He needed to get stronger,” Ritvo said.
Silver Menace, who raced as a ridgling in the Gulfstream Park Derby, was gelded prior to the Needles. Ritvo has noticed a physical difference in the striking gray colt since the procedure.
“See how he’s tucked up and gotten taller? He was a ridgling, so I’m sure it was pinching him,” Ritvo said.