Triple Crown contender Mucho Macho Man is slated to make his return to action in a $55,000 allowance/optional claiming event at Aqueduct Racetrack Nov. 9.
The one-mile race, the third on the program, will be Mucho Macho Man’s first start since a seventh in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 11. The winner of the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) in February at Fair Grounds has a pair of runner-up finishes behind To Honor and Serve in the Nashua and Remsen stakes (both gr. II) at Aqueduct a year ago.
Mucho Macho Man ran in all three jewels of the Triple Crown, finishing third in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and sixth in the Preakness (gr. I) prior to the Belmont.
“After the Belmont, we wanted to give him time off,” said Dean Reeves, whose Reeves Thoroughbred Partnership owns Mucho Macho Man with Dream Team One Racing Stable. “The Triple Crown was a tough campaign and we knew we wanted to give him two, three months off.
"Most trainers told me if you take two months off it takes two months to get back, so about in mid-August he started back training (at Saratoga) with jogs, gallops up to his breezes. He developed a little soreness so we backed off, then brought him to Belmont. Then he started breezing and we began to dial in on a race; he went a strong five furlongs and began building a foundation, and then six- and seven-furlong works, and now we think he’s fit and ready to go.”
Reeves said the team’s long-term objectives for the son of Macho Uno include January’s Sunshine Millions Classic and November’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), both at Santa Anita.
Mucho Macho Man has won two of 11 lifetime starts with three seconds and and three thirds while earning $610,643.
Trainer Kathy Ritvo said the upcoming race, which is restricted to horses who have never won three races or are entered for a $35,000 claiming price, is a good spot for Mucho Macho Man to make his comeback.
“He’s actually grown up a lot,” she added. “It’s going to be a competitive race, but we have to start somewhere.”
Mucho Macho Man is to face six opponents, including Gallant Fields, a 4-year-old who enters the race off an 8 ¼-length victory in an entry-level allowance contested in the slop Sept. 5 at Saratoga. He received a Beyer Speed Figure of 100 for the effort.