OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Making his first start since the Belmont Stakes, Mucho Macho Man ($4.90) returned in a big way at Aqueduct on Wednesday, winning a second-level allowance by 5 3/4 lengths under a hand ride.
Breaking to the lead out of the chute under Ramon Dominguez, Mucho Macho Man set fractions of 23.32, 46.32 and 1:09.86 while chased by 7-5 favorite Southern Ridge, easily shrugged that rival off through upper stretch and widened his lead without need of encouragement.
“He was just on cruise control,” said Dominguez. “Turning for home, he switched leads right and just took off again. Very, very nice.”
Mucho Macho Man ran the mile in 1:34.72 seconds over a fast track, and notched his first win since the Grade 2 Risen Star on Feb. 19. He improved to 3-3-3 from 12 starts overall.
Gallant Fields rallied for second over Praetereo, as Southern Ridge faded to wind up fourth in the six-horse field.
Mucho Macho Man, who was third in the Kentucky Derby, and one of three horses to contest all three Triple Crown races, could return to stakes action soon according to trainer Kathy Ritvo.
“He’s been training great, so I thought he would run well today,” she said. “I really didn’t expect anything, I just wanted to get a good race into him for a comeback. We definitely have some options, but we’ll wait and see how he comes out of the race and go from there.”