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Mar 25, 2011

Mucho Macho Man highlights Louisiana Derby


New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Risen Star Stakes winner Mucho Macho Man headlines a field of 13 for Saturday's $1 million Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds. The 1 1/8-mile race for three-year-olds will have a post-time of 5:55 p.m. (et).

Last month Mucho Macho Man, ridden by Rajiv Maragh, rallied down the stretch to win the $300,000 Risen Star Stakes. For the Louisiana Derby jockey and horse will start from post five. Mucho Macho Man has been installed as the 9-5 favorite.

"Mucho Macho Man seemed to love the track at Fair Grounds," said trainer Kathy Ritvo, "so there's no reason not to come back. The horse is doing great and we're all looking forward to coming back to New Orleans. He's been great, super, just like his old self. He's come out of his race very well,

"I think the distance will be good for him. I think he likes the track and definitely the two turns. He's definitely more mature than he was when we were back in New York."

Owned by Dean Reeves and Dream Team One Racing Stable, Mucho Macho Man has

two wins in seven career starts and banked $310,643.

He was fourth as the 2-1 favorite to Dialed In in the Holy Bull Stakes in January at Gulfstream Park. The colt was second last year in both the Remsen and Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct.

"The Louisiana Derby is a great venue," Reeves said, "and one of the reasons we wanted to bring the horse back to Fair Grounds is that when horses all turn for home over that track it's still a long way to the finish line. I think from a mental standpoint of the horse it's a good thing to get him used to that because of the long stretch run at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby."

Wilkinson, winner of the track's $100,000 Lecomte Stakes two months ago. has drawn post 10 with Garrett Gomez back to ride. Gomez just won the Rebel Stakes with The Factor at Oaklawn Park.

Wilkinson, 8-1 in the program, is owned by Gaillardia Racing and trained by Neil Howard. The colt has won two of five starts for $105,490.

Coming in from Arkansas is Elite Alex. The colt, trained by Tim Ritchey, will break from post 12 with Calvin Borel in the saddle and is 6-1 in the morning- line.

The three-year-old was pulled out of the Rebel Stakes to run in the Louisiana Derby. He had drawn post 10 for the Oaklawn Park race.

"It's all about getting to the (Kentucky) Derby," said Ritchey who trained 2005 champion colt Afleet Alex, sire of Elite Alex. "We can get another week. The stretch there (Fair Grounds) is longer and there are 700,000 more reasons down there than running from a wide post in a big field here. I hope he runs well enough so we don't have to worry about it, but it also gives us three weeks after that to the Arkansas Derby."

Elite Alex was third in Oaklawn's Southwest Stakes to Archarcharch in February. Owned by Elite Alex, LLC, the colt has earnings of $55,300 in three starts and one win.

Here is the complete field for the 98th Louisiana Derby in post position order: Nacho Business, Joe Bravo, 10-1; Pants On Fire, Rosie Napravnik, 10-1; Nehro, Michael Baze, 30-1; Mavericking, Shaun Bridgmohan, 20-1; Mucho Macho Man, Rajiv Maragh, 9-5; Liondrive, James Graham, 50-1; Machen, Edgar Prado, 7-2; Majestic Harbor, Corey Lanerie, 12-1; Le Mans, Robby Albarado, 20-1; Wilkinson, Garrett Gomez, 8-1; Left, Jesse Campbell, 10-1; Elite Alex, Calvin Borel, 6-1 and Populist Politics, Richard Eramia), 30-1.

Nacho Business and Pants On Fire, both owned by George and Lori Hall, will be a coupled entry

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