ARCADIA, Calif. (March 2, 2014)–Breeders’ Cup Classic champ Mucho Macho Man worked five furlongs between races in 1:01.53 Sunday at Santa Anita, setting the stage for a highly anticipated rematch with Classic runner-up Will Take Charge in Saturday’s Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap.
With regular exercise rider Nick Petro up, the 6-year-old Florida-bred horse by Macho Uno came onto Santa Anita’s main track following Sunday’s fourth race. “MMM” entered the track via the stable area in the quarter mile chute at the top of the stretch and backtracked on the outside rail up the backstretch, around the Club House turn and was turned around by Petro at the finish line. From there, he cantered in the middle of the track back around the Club House turn until he passed the five furlong pole, whereupon he was angled to the rail and set down for his work approaching the half mile.
With Petro sitting still, “MMM” strode through fractions on a surface listed as “good” in 24.31 and 48.80. With trainer Kathy Ritvo, jockey Gary Stevens and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing Manager Finn Green observing from a viewing area adjoining Santa Anita’s Winner’s Circle, “MMM” galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.60.
“It was basically a little romp in the park,” said Stevens of the public workout. “It was more fun than serious stuff. He looked like a real happy horse that had a chance to stretch his legs and use a little energy.”
Mucho Macho Man, who defeated the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Will Take Charge by a nose in the Classic at Santa Anita Nov. 2, has been assigned high weight of 124 pounds, while “WTC” will carry 123. Two-time Big ‘Cap winner Game On Dude, who is trained by Bob Baffert, has been assigned 122.
Mucho Macho Man will again be ridden on Saturday by Stevens, while Will Take Charge will be reunited with regular rider Louis Saez and Game On Dude will be paired with regular pilot Mike Smith.
Entries for the 77th running of the Santa Anita Handicap will be taken Wednesday, March 5. Santa Anita will offer a blockbuster 11-race program on Saturday, headed by the Big ‘Cap, the Grade I, $350,000 Frank E. Kilroe (turf) Mile, the Grade II, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes, and the Grade II, $250,000 San Carlos Stakes.
Special early first post time on Saturday is 12 noon. Admission gates will open at 10 a.m. For more information, please visit santaanita.com.