Suburban Handicap (gr. II) winner Mucho Macho Man returned to the work tab for the first time since his July 7 victory, beginning preparations for the Sept. 1 Woodward Handicap (gr. I) with a bullet four-furlong breeze on the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 12.
Under regular exercise rider Nick Petro, the 4-year-old Macho Uno
colt was timed in :47 seconds flat, the fastest of 37 horses at the distance that day.
"He's very good," said Kathy Ritvo, who trains Mucho Macho Man for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. "He loves to train. He really relaxes, and he had a good work today."
Though it was his regularly scheduled work day, Mucho Macho Man had one small adjustment made to his routine, a remnant of the recent rainy weather.
"Instead of working at 5:30 a.m. like we usually do, I waited for the track to dry a little at 7:30," Ritvo said. "We got a little traffic, but he worked good. There were two horses in front of him for someone else, and he came up on the inside of them and finished well."
Mucho Macho Man captured the Suburban by 2 1/2 lengths over Hymn Book
at Belmont Park
, running the nine furlongs in 1:46.58. It was his third win in four starts this year, including the Sunshine Millions Classic and Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II).
The $750,000 Woodward will be the second lifetime start at Saratoga for Mucho Macho Man, a veteran of all three Triple Crown races in 2011, who was third in a maiden race at the Spa Aug. 21, 2010.
In all, Mucho Macho Man has six wins, three seconds, four thirds and $1.3 million in purse earnings from 16 career starts.
"He's serious about his work now," Ritvo said. "He's always been pretty serious, but he has really come into his own. He's a June 15th foal, so it's going to take him some time to mature. He's always been a pretty smart horse; he's just starting to grow into his body and put on a lot of muscle.
"What I love about him is he's professional and he's consistent," said Ritvo. "You put the bridle on to go over in the afternoon, and he just settles right down. He's a gentleman. It's a lot of fun to watch him run."