After much speculation, Macho Uno, last year's 2-year-old champion, is headed to the $300,000 grade III Ohio Derby at Thistledown Saturday. He heads the field with early odds of 3-5.
Macho Uno was questionable for the race following a weekend bout with colic and concerns over shipping. Trainer Joe Orseno and owner Frank Stronach made the decision to run the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner in the race Wednesday morning and vanned him from his New York base to the Cleveland track Thursday morning.
Macho Uno will be the house horse Saturday, as Stronach's Magna Entertainment Corporation owns Thistledown. Stronach won the race last year with another house horse, Milwaukee Brew.
After winning last November's Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) by a nose over Point Given, Macho Uno was injured and did not start again until a July 25 allowance contest at Saratoga where he finished a nose behind the winner Wicked Will. He then rebounded to win the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. III) by 1 1/2 lengths over Unbridled Elaine in his last start.
Challenging Macho Uno will be Western Pride who enters the race off a wire-to-wire win in the West Virginia Derby and an allowance win at Thistledown. Morning line odds for Western Pride are 6-1.
Saratoga Games, who finished second behind Western Pride in the West Virginia Derby, is another solid challenger. Saratoga Games is listed at 6-1.
The field for the 1 1/8 mile Ohio Derby include: Western Pride (Dana Whitney, 119); Saint Damien (Tony D'Amico, 116); One The Game (Emile Ramsammy, 113); Macho Uno (Gary Stevens, 119); Saratoga Games (Mario Pino, 113); Unbridled Time (Greta Kuntzweiler, 116); Woodmoon (Larry Melancon, 113); Weston Field (Lonnie Meche, 113).