Classic: Stevens Says Santa Anita ‘Home Now’ to Mucho Macho Man
Mucho Macho Man has been in California so long it wouldn't be surprising if he had a skate board and a cell phone. … OK, so he's been here shorter than a Brett Favre retirement and may not be a bona fide California Boy yet, but he has been at Barn 126 at Santa Anita since Sept. 9.
The 5-year-old Mucho Uno horse fulfilled his first major objective at The Great Race Place, winning the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes on Sept. 28 to earn a fees-paid berth in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.
He had his first workout since the Awesome Again on Oct. 12, going a half-mile in 47.40 for Kathy Ritvo, who trains the 17-hand bay for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. Mucho Macho Man thrives at Santa Anita, where he finished second by a half-length in last year's Classic to Fort Larned. His trainer loves it here, too, especially the weather.
Gary Stevens, who rode Mucho Macho Man in the Awesome Again and will be aboard again in the Classic, sees a benefit in having the winner of more than $2.5 million in his comfort zone.
“It's a huge advantage,” said Stevens, who is looking forward to the 30th edition of the Breeders' Cup World Championships on Nov. 1 and 2. “The horse is here and he's settled in. This is home now and he likes this track. He ran well on it last year and had a great performance in the Awesome Again.
“Last weekend was kind of disappointing for me, but it was all relative after I got a text from a number I didn't recognize.
“It said, ‘Gary, this is Kathy. Here's Mucho's work this morning. It was a half-mile.' She sent me a video of it. I got to watch it and it just put a smile on my face.
“I know she's excited. That gave me a boost and made me put the weekend in perspective. I realized I've got a lot to look forward to.”
In addition to Mucho Macho Man, agent Craig O'Bryan has booked Stevens on the following Breeders' Cup mounts: Beholder (Distaff), She's a Tiger (Juvenile Fillies), Ever Rider (Marathon), Indy Point (Turf), Starship Truffles (Filly & Mare Sprint), Caracortado (Turf Sprint) and Got Shades (Juvenile Turf).