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Dec 06, 2013

Up the Backstretch: Mucho Macho Man brings smiles to racing fans

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor

 Philadelphia, PA ( - The good news came Wednesday from Gulfstream Park that Breeders' Cup Classic champ and Horse of the Year contender Mucho Macho Man will remain in training and continue to race in 2014 as a 6-year-old.

Mucho Macho Man, owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and trained by Kathy Ritvo, could have very easily been retired to stud and spend the rest of his life on a farm. But, his connections are going to show that the horse has more to accomplish and at the same time bring people to the racetrack to watch the champion thoroughbred.

"We just decided for sure (Tuesday) that we're going to target the Breeders' Cup again at Santa Anita," said Finn Green, stable manager of Dean and Patti Reeves' Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. "The front end of the season right now is wide open. Kathy and I are going to do some evaluating over the next few months and make some decisions about how Kathy is going to start him off."

With Mucho Macho Man coming back to race in 2014, the three leading male thoroughbreds will be in competition during the year. Reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan and Game On Dude, being geldings, will continue their career on the track putting into motion hopes that the three can find a race in which they can all compete.

"The horse is potentially extremely versatile," Green said about Mucho Macho Man. "We plan on working the horse on the turf towards the end of the month and Kathy and I will make a decision after that work about turf for him this year,"

Does that mean that the current Breeders' Cup Classic winner will take on two- time Breeders' Cup Mile champ Wise Dan in a race?

We can hope for a meeting between those two top runners. Mucho Macho Man defeated Game On Dude in the Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2, the second year in a row that occurred. Last year in the $5 million, 1 1/4-mile Classic, Mucho Macho Man finished a close second to Fort Larned, but outdistancing Game On Dude who finished seventh.

"He's shown us all the right signs and shown us he wants to be on the track," said Ritvo, the first woman to saddle the winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic. "He's looks great. He just loves his job.

"We've all put him first -- the racing manager, the assistant trainer, the groom, everyone. We've gone out of our way to help him become a good horse."

Giving turf a try will probably leave out Game On Dude from competing in a race with the other two top horses. However, Wise Dan has run on main tracks with success and Game On Dude just needs a win on grass to join the club of thoroughbreds who have victories on all three types of surfaces.

Also, leading 3-year-old Will Take Charge, second in the Classic, is expected to race in 2014 leaving all of us with visions of an ultimate showdown with the other three fan favorites.

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