(from Churchill Downs)
Trainer Dallas Stewart says Macho Again is “ready to roll” for the $400,000 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (gr. II) Nov. 27 at Churchill Downs.
“I feel good about our chances,” Stewart said of Macho Again, who is owned by West Point Thoroughbreds. “I like where we are, he loves this track and he worked great yesterday (Nov. 20, five furlongs in 1:01.20).”
Macho Again has compiled a record of 5-3-1-0 at Churchill Downs with his biggest victory coming in June’s Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) in which he defeated likely Clark rivals Einstein and Bullsbay .
The Clark will be Macho Again’s first start since finishing fourth in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) on Oct. 3.
“There was no pace in that race and things just didn’t pan out that day,” Stewart said.
Macho Again came down with a cough after the Jockey Club that forced Stewart to cancel a trip to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). Since recovering from the brief setback, Macho Again has had three five-furlong works.
The 4-year-old colt’s top effort of 2009 was a runner-up finish to leading Horse of the Year contender Rachel Alexandra in the Woodward (gr. I) at the Clark Handicap distance of 1 1/8 miles.
“That was a great race,” Stewart said. Macho Again came the closest of any horse this year to Rachel Alexandra in falling a head short. “One more jump … that would have made my year.”
Stewart said that Macho Again, who also won the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) this year, would ship with his barn to the Fair Grounds at the end of the meet. Initial plans for 2010 are the Sunshine Millions Classic at Santa Anita on Jan. 30 or the Donn Handicap (gr. I) on Feb. 6 at Gulfstream Park.