Trainer Kathy Ritvo set the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) March 10 as the next start for multiple stakes winner Mucho Macho Man.
Ritvo gave the green light to the one-turn mile handicap after watching the 4-year-old son of Macho Uno breeze four furlongs in :48 1/5 Feb. 17 at Gulfstream Park.
“He loves to train; he loves to get on the track,” said Ritvo, whose nephew, Nick Petro Jr., was aboard for the colt’s first work since capturing the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic on Jan. 28. “He was out there standing for 20 minutes before we even backed up. He takes full advantage of being out on the track. He watched all the horses go by. When you take him to another track, he does the same thing.”
Mucho Macho Man, who finished third in last year’s Kentucky Derby (gr. I), was one of only three horses to compete in all three legs of last year’s Triple Crown. Following a troubled trip in the Belmont (gr. I) last June, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team One Racing’s colt was given a long vacation to mature into his large frame.
He returned to action with a 5 3/4-length romp in an optional claiming allowance at Aqueduct on Nov. 9. He followed up that performance with a 1 1/2-length score in the 1 1/8-mile Florida Sunshine Millions Classic.
Ritvo is not concerned about the turn-back to a one-turn mile.
“It won’t be a problem. He ran a very fast mile,” she said. “He’s gotten himself very relaxed, even in his works you can get him to settle right down and gallop out strong. He galloped out strong this morning.”