Big Macher fights for the win in the Potrero Grande Stakes.

Big Macher fights for the win in the Potrero Grande Stakes.

Benoit Photo

Big Macher Denies Wild Dude in Potrero Grande

California-bred gelding lands first graded stakes victory April 12 at Santa Anita.

Big Macher prevailed in a thrilling finish to the $200,00 Potrero Grande Stakes (gr. II) April 12 at Santa Anita Park, denying 7-5 favorite Wild Dude by a nose for his first graded stakes win (VIDEO).

Ridden by Tyler Baze, the 4-year-old California-bred by Beau Genius struck the front near the sixteenth pole and dug hard for the wire as Wild Dude and Rafael Bejarano closed powerfully on the outside to just miss.

Big Macher lost by half a length to top sprinter Sahara Sky in his most recent start in the San Carlos Stakes (gr. II) March 8. But he proved best this time while completing the 6 1/2-furlong distance in a sharp 1:14.97 on a fast track.

The big bay gelding is trained by Richard Baltas for owners Tom Mansor and Tachycardia Stables. Big Macher was bred by Ballena Vista Farm out of the Kris S. mare Insight and sold for $10,000 as a Barretts October yearling in 2011.

"He's a horse that's getting better and better," said Baltas. "I don't even know how to explain it. He's the type of horse who has the will to win. I don't take any credit for it. You do the right thing for the horse, and the horse really blessed me today. I'm so happy."

Sent off as the second choice at 2-1, Big Macher raced closely in third behind a fast pace established by outsider Mongolian Saturday (:21.83, :44.25), bidding three deep between rivals in the stretch. Cyclometer, also in the fray while ridden by Edwin Maldonado, took the lead approaching mid-stretch after the front-runner had given way.

But the battling Big Macher put his head in front in deep stretch as late-charging Wild Dude was gaining ground with every stride. Under urging from Baze, though, Big Macher just lasted as Wild Dude settled for second.

"I didn't get too much pressure from the outside and I really just got the perfect trip," said Baze, who rode Big Macher for the first time. "I got to do what I wanted out there and I got to keep him happy.

"I knew this horse was going to lay his body down and give me everything he had. He's an honest horse. I just rode this horse with confidence and knew he was going to give me 100%."

Cyclometer was 1 3/4 lengths farther back in third and was followed by Midnight Transfer, Wine Police, Zeewat, Crimson Giant, and Mongolian Saturday.

Big Macher, winner of the California Cup Sprint Jan. 25, ran his record to 4-2-2 in 10 career starts. With the winner's share of $120,000, he increased his earnings to $316,428.

The winner carried 118 pounds and paid $6.20, $3.20 and $2.80. Recent Palos Verdes Stakes (gr. II) winner Wild Dude, toting top weight of 123, returned $2.60 and $2.20 while completing a $13 exacta. Cyclometer was $5.20 to show.