Mucho Macho Man, a son of Macho Uno, set just off the pace of front-runner Decisive Moment through much of the 1 1/16 mile race, along with Santiva and Liondrive at this weekend's $300,000 Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes.
The four horses continued around the track together until Liondrive challenged Decisive Moment just before the final turn. At that point, the horses sitting mid-pack in the field began to make their move as a group of five stretched out in a line turning the corner into the stretch. Coming out of the pack on top were Mucho Macho Man and Santiva, as Liondrive and Decisive Moment began to fade and Machen and Rogue Romance began to close in.
Mucho Macho Man, ridden by Rajiv Maragh and trained by Kathy Ritvo, pulled clear and was able to reach the finish a length and a half in front of jockey Mike Smith and Santiva. Co-favorites Rogue Romance and Machen closed quickly to finish just behind them in third and fourth, respectively. Decisive Moment finished in fifth followed by Pants on Fire, Action Ready, Justin Phillip, Sorgho, and Liondrive.
Key things to take away from this race:
- Mucho Macho Man proved that he is a viable Kentucky Derby contender and a horse on the improve after finishing fourth in the Holy Bull Stakes last month
- Rogue Romance closed fast, passing Machen into the stretch, with such drive that it would appear he’d love the Derby’s added distance.
- Machen, who became the “now” horse by handicappers as the race neared, is one to watch just to see what he becomes. It seems as though fans are looking for the next Curlin—a superhorse that explodes on the track without having raced as a two-year-old.
Next Saturday brings the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes, both at Gulfstream Park in Florida.
Photo: Courtesy Kentucky Derby