Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Mucho Macho Man will return to competition in 2014 with a goal of defending his title in the $5 million race he won Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park, according to his connections.
For a third consecutive year, the World Championships will be hosted by Santa Anita next year.
A 5-year-old son of Macho Uno trained by Kathy Ritvo, Mucho Macho Man overcame early-season health issues and an injury to return to form late, winning the Awesome Again Stakes (gr. I) previous to his Classic triumph.
"We just decided for sure (Dec. 4) that we're going to target the Breeders' Cup again at Santa Anita," said Finn Green, stable manager of Dean and Patti Reeves' Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. "The front end of the season right now is wide open. Kathy and I are going to do some evaluating over the next few months and make some decisions about how Kathy is going to start him off."
"He has shown us all the right signs and shown us he wants to be on the track," said Ritvo, the first woman to saddle the winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic. "He looks great. He just loves his job."
Mucho Macho Man has won or placed in 19 of 23 starts for earnings of $5,340,410.
Among the options being considered for the Florida-bred horse are two races at Gulfstream Park: the $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic Jan. 18 and the Donn Handicap (gr. I) Feb. 8. Green said grass racing is also under consideration for Mucho Macho Man.
"The horse is potentially extremely versatile," Green said. "We plan on working the horse on the turf toward the end of (December), and Kathy and I will make a decision after that work about turf for him next year."