Mucho Macho Man Struts for Santa Anita Fans, By Blood-Horse Staff

Mucho Macho Man was on the Santa Anita Park main track between races March 2 for his final timed workout before the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), a drill jockey Gary Stevens termed “a little romp in the park.”

The Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) champ  worked five furlongs in 1:01.53 Sunday, setting the stage for a highly anticipated rematch March 8 with Classic runner-up Will Take Charge in the Big ‘Cap.

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. He entered the track via the stable area in the quarter mile chute at the top of the stretch.

With Petro sitting still, Mucho Macho Man 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, the big bay 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. Will Take Charge will carry 123. Two-time Big ‘Cap winner Game On Dude, who is trained by Bob Baffert, has been assigned 122.

Stevens will be aboard Mucho Macho Man Saturday, while Will Take Charge will be reunited with regular rider Louis Saez. Game On Dude will be paired with regular pilot Mike Smith.

Entries for the 77th running of the Santa Anita Handicap will be taken March 5. Santa Anita will offer an 11-race program that also includes the $350,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (gr. IT) on turf, the $300,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds, and the $250,000 San Carlos Stakes (gr. II) for sprinters.


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