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Jan 18, 2013

Mucho Macho Man versus 'Greek' in Sunshine Millions Classic


Hallandale Beach, FL (Sports Network) - Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up Mucho Macho Man and Santa Anita Handicap winner Ron the Greek lead a field of seven older thoroughbreds for Saturday's $400,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park.

Trainer Kathy Ritvo saddled Mucho Macho Man to win this race last year over Ron the Greek. Owned by Reeves Thoroughbreds and Dream Team One Racing, Mucho Macho Man defeated Ron the Greek by 1 1/2-lengths in last year's Classic and was a half-length behind Fort Larned in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 3, with Ron the Greek fourth.

Mucho Macho Man will be ridden by Mike Smith from post 2. Smith has been aboard the 5-year-old the last three starts including a win in the Suburban Handicap and second in the Woodward behind To Honor and Serve.

Last year after winning the Sunshine Millions Classic, Mucho Macho Man won the Gulfstream Park Handicap and was third in the Alysheba at Churchill Downs. He comes into Saturday's race with six wins in 18 career starts and more than $2.3 million.

Ron the Greek, trained by Bill Mott, has drawn post 5 with Jose Lezcano again in the saddle. The 6-year-old is owned by Brous Stable, Wachtel Stable, and Jack T. Hammer.

"We're taking on a top horse in Mucho Macho Man," said Mott. "He's been working very well and it seems like he's very sharp, so he'll just have to see what happens."

Along with winning the Santa Anita Handicap in 2012, the 6-year-old captured the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs between seconds in the Oaklawn and Whitney Handicaps. Prior to the Breeders' Cup Classic, Ron the Greek finished sixth in the Jockey Club Gold Cup,

"He came out of the Breeders' Cup and had a short, brief vacation. Obviously, nothing too long or we wouldn't be running here. He's come back and we got a few works in him," Mott said. "He's an older horse and I don't think an extended vacation at this point in time would necessarily be the right thing for a horse like him. Sometimes it's hard to bring them back in peak form if you're off too long, and there was no reason to lay off for an extended period of time."

He begins 2013 with earnings of better than $1.5 million in 22 lifetime starts with seven wins.

In post position order here is the field for the Sunshine Millions Classic: I'm Steppin' It Up, David Cohen; Mucho Macho Man, Mike Smith; Fort Loudon, John Velazquez; Atoned, Luca Panici; Ron the Greek, Jose Lezcano; Decaf Again, Corey Lanerie and Cash Rules, Luis Saez.

Post-time for the 1 1/8-mile Classic is slated for 5:05 p.m. (ET).

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