Mucho Macho Man Seeking Triumphant Return
A field of 10 will contest the 1 1/16-mile stakes, which is part of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) undercard with three other graded stakes besides the feature race.
One of the streaking horses is 2-1 morning line favorite Mucho Macho Man, who last raced at Churchill Downs a year ago when he finished a respectable third in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) behind Animal Kingdom and Nehro.
A son of Macho Uno —Ponche de Leona, by Ponche, the 4-year-old colt and rider Ramon Dominguez had a good winter at Gulfstream Park. Together they won the 1 1/8-mile $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic by a length and a half, then went on to win the one-mile Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) by two lengths in near wire-to-wire fashion.
Mucho Macho Man, trained by Kathy Ritvo and owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team One Racing Stable, ended last year on a winning note after struggling post-Derby. He dropped back to a mile distance last November in an optional claiming race at Aqueduct and won by nearly six lengths. In his last three wins, the colt has produced triple-digit BRIS Speed Ratings and comes into the Alysheba Stakes off a sharp three-furlong work in :36 1/5 at Churchill April 28.
Looking to extend his own streak to five is Nates Mineshaft, a son of Mineshaft —Angel’s Tearlet, by Silver Deputy. The 5-year-old ridgling made three impressive and steadily improving starts at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots this year for trainer Austin Smith.
He began the season by winning a mile and 70-yard optional claiming race by 2 3/4 lengths Jan. 19 then followed with a wire-to-wire victory in the 1 1/16-mile Mineshaft Stakes (gr. III) by the same margin Feb. 25. He wired the field again in the 1 1/8-mile New Orleans Handicap (gr. II), winning by 7 1/4 lengths and setting a track record of 1:47.64. Jesse Campbell will be aboard Nates Mineshaft, who is 5-1 in the morning line. Campbell has been aboard since the horse’s winning streak began Dec. 28.
Another top contender is Successful Dan, a son of Successful Appeal —Lisa Danielle, by Wolf Power, who has a sterling record at Churchill Downs. His two wins and a third in three starts over the Churchill dirt, a key reason he’s the 3-1 second choice. Successful Dan’s last race at Churchill Downs was Nov. 26 in the Clark Handicap (gr. I), in which he crossed the wire first by a neck over Giant Oak but was disqualified for interference and placed third.
Morton Fink’s 6-year-old homebred gelding is trained by Charles Lopresti and will be ridden by Julien Leparoux, who has been having a phenomenal year so far. Leparoux had a great run during the Keeneland spring meet, taking the meet’s riding title and tying a spring meet record by winning six races in one day April 20. He missed breaking the 22-year-old record by a head in the Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III). Leparoux’s record in the previous week is four wins and three thirds out of eight mounts.
The Alysheba will be Successful Dan’s second start of the year. His first start was in a seven-furlong $100,000 optional claiming race at Keeneland.
Alysheba Stakes (gr. II), $300,000, 4-year-olds and up, 1 1/16 miles, post time 3:52 EDT
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