Breeders' Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man arrived Feb. 23 at the stable area at Santa Anita Park in advance of a rematch with Classic runner-up Will Take Charge and Game On Dude in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) March 8.
The 77th renewal of the $750,000 Big 'Cap, presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino, is one of the most anticipated in years.
Mucho Macho Man reached the barn area after his flight from Florida at 5:15 p.m. PST.
Last November's Classic provided one of the most thrilling stretch runs in Breeders' Cup history. The Kathy Ritvo-trained Mucho Macho Man, with Gary Stevens up, prevailed by a scant nose over the fast finishing Will Take Charge and Luis Saez.
Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Will Take Charge went on to be voted the nation's Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old for 2013.
In addition to last year's Classic, Mucho Macho Man was an emphatic 4 1/4-length winner of Santa Anita's 1 1/8-mile Awesome Again Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 28. In his only other start over the track he was second, beaten a half length by Fort Larned , in the 2012 BC Classic.
Mucho Macho Man demolished a group of Florida-breds by 14 lengths in the 1 1/8-mile Sunshine Millions Classic, his seasonal debut at Gulfstream Park Jan. 18. He has not raced since, but has been working at Gulfstream for this start. His connections opted to run in the Big 'Cap instead of the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I).
The 6-year-old horse by Macho Uno , owned by Dean and Patti Reeves and Adena Springs, worked five furlongs in 1:02.56 Saturday at Gulfstream. He will have one local breeze in advance of the Big 'Cap, according to Ritvo.
Managed by Reeves Racing's Finn Green, Mucho Macho Man is in search of his fourth consecutive win and his 10th overall in what will be his 25th career start.
Following his heartbreak loss in the Classic, Will Take Charge defeated two-time Big 'Cap winner Game On Dude by a head in the Clark Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs Nov. 29,. Will Take Charge followed that with a second-place finish as the 3-2 favorite in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream Feb. 9.