Mucho Macho Man and jockey Gary Stevens after winning the 2013 Breeders' Cup Classic (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire).
The 5-year-old son of Macho Uno had run in six Grade 1 events before the Awesome Again with two seconds and a third in those races, including a runner-up finish in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic. With a classic placing as a 3-year-old and multiple Grade 2 wins, Mucho Macho Man had done nearly everything there is to do going a distance of ground on the dirt … except win a Grade 1. That all changed in California with his Awesome Again victory, a win that also guaranteed him a spot in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita.
A little over a month later, the horse made the most of that opportunity when he won one of the most thrilling Breeders' Cup Classics in recent history.
A big horse, Mucho Macho Man took a few starts to secure his first career win, finally breaking his maiden by four lengths when he was stretched out to a mile. The victory encouraged his connections to enter him in a Grade 2 race, in which he again showed his class when he finished second against To Honor and Serve. The pair met again in the Remsen Stakes and again Mucho Macho Man finished second for trainer Kathy Ritvo.
It wasn’t until the Risen Star Stakes two starts later as a 3-year-old that the colt finally broke through for a graded stakes victory and landed on the Triple Crown trail.
2011 RISING STAR: MUCHO MACHO MAN
Photo by Eclipse Sportswire
Mucho Macho Man didn’t win his next four starts, but finished third in the Kentucky Derby before getting a 5-month break to let him fill into his massive frame. The break seemed to help Mucho Macho Man as he came back to win three straight races, including the Gulfstream Park Handicap in his second start as a 4-year-old.
Since then, Mucho Macho Man has only won two of eight starts but has been frustratingly close several times, finishing in the top three in seven of those races, many times by less than four lengths. He also has shown that he has matured as he’s gotten older with a career-best 121 Equibase Speed Figure in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Mucho Macho Man proved in the Awesome Again that his Classic placing at Santa Anita was no fluke. He won the Awesome Again by 4 ¼ lengths over a field that included 2012 Haskell Invitational Stakes winner Paynter and 2012 Travers Stakes winner Golden Ticket.
“I just hope we can get ready for the [Breeders’ Cup] races. He’s doing great. I don’t know what else to say right now. He’s doing real well,” said Ritvo, Mucho Macho Man’s trainer, after the Awesome Again.
Mucho Macho Man has stayed consistent from four to five, producing Equibase Speed Figures of 119 and 117 in the Whitney Handicap and Awesome Again with only a little blip in figures with a third in the Criminal Type Stakes after failing to finish in the 2013 Sunshine Millions Classic, a race he won in 2012.
As a big horse, it took a while for Mucho Macho Man to hit his stride. But between his apparent love of Santa Anita and the fact that the Classic looked to be a wide-open race, Mucho Macho Man showed just how much talent he had after he figured out the racing game.
Mucho Macho Man is by 2000 champion 2-year-old male Macho Uno, who won that year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Macho Uno is also a half-brother to top sire and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Awesome Again.
Mucho Macho Man is out of stakes winner Ponche de Leona, who has also produced stakes-placed filly Mucho Mans Gold. However, Ponche de Leona and Mucho Macho Man are the only stakes winners in several generations with the next stakes winner coming in the form of her fourth dam, Gal Sal.
It should be noted that Mucho Macho Man does get stamina from both sides as Ponche de Leona won in her only attempt at 1 1/8 miles, mostly running in sprints through her 30-race career.
Mucho Macho Man was one of the few main Breeders’ Cup Classic contenders who ran his final prep race in California. That could have given him the advantage needed to get his second Grade 1 win in a row when he ran on the surface for the Classic.
MUCHO MACHO MAN WON THE 2012 SUNSHINE MILLIONS CLASSIC
Photo by Eclipse Sportswire