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  • Writer's pictureSteven Crayne

Georgia’s Hometown Horse Has Race Named in His Honor

Mucho Macho Man Kicks Off Florida Derby Trail

The $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Stakes is scheduled to kick off Gulfstream Park’s Road to the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) Saturday, highlighting a card of five stakes, including the $100,000 Dania Beach (G3) and $100,000 Old Hat (G3).

The first stakes for newly turned 3-year-olds on the 2015 calendar attracted 25 nominations for the fourth running of the race formerly known as the Gulfstream Park Derby and now named in honor of the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic champion.

Mawthooq, one of several highly regarded 3-year-old prospects trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, has been nominated to the Mucho Macho Man after scoring a 10 1/2 –length mile maiden romp at Aqueduct last time out.

Todd Pletcher, the 11-time defending training champion at Gulfstream, nominated three horses for the one-turn mile event, including recent impressive debut winners Blame Game and Itsaknockout, along with Savoy Stomp.

Trainer Michael Maker and J. Armando Rodriguez Racing Stable, who visited the winner’s circle with General a Rod following last year’s running, have nominated A. Rod Again, a 4 ½-length maiden winner at Churchill Downs last time out.

Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr., who saddled Itsmyluckyday for a victory for owners Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa in 2013, nominated Honest, a maiden winner at Monmouth last time out for the same owners.

General a Rod and Itsmyluckyday both went on to finish on the board in the Florida Derby and compete in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Itsmyluckyday went on to finish second in the Preakness Stakes (G1).

John Servis-trained Brother Bobo and Marcus Vitali-trained Bluegrass Singer have also been nominated to the Mucho Macho Man after finishing second and third, respectively, in a three-horse win photo in the recent Buffalo Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park West.

Jacks or Better Farm’s Twotwentyfive A, a winner of the $250,000 Affirmed leg of the Florida Sire Stakes, has been nominated by trainer Stanley Gold to take on open stakes company again in the Mucho Macho Man after a subpar showing in the Buffalo Man. Ralph Nicks-trained Richard the Great, who launched his career with back-to-back wins before running into road trouble in the Buffalo Man, has also been nominated.

High Noon Rider, who finished third in the $250,000 Springboard Mile at Remington last time out for trainer George Weaver; Gustavo Delgado-trained Juan and Bina, the runner-up in the Smooth Air Stakes at Gulfstream Park West; Indianaughty, a Team Valor International colt who broke his maiden over a European synthetic surface; and the Jose Carroll-trained trio of Ami’s Flatter, Decision Day and Glenville Gardens; are also among the more notable nominees.

The one-mile Mucho Macho Man will be supported by the six-furlong $100,000 Spectacular Bid for 3-year-olds on Saturday’s card. The 37th running of the race named in honor of the 1979 Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby winner received 19 nominations, including the Pletcher-trained Blame Game and Savoy Stomp, as well as It’s Not Me, Twotwentyfive A, High Noon Rider and Honest.

Toasting Master, coming off back-to-back wins at Churchill Downs for trainer Dale Romans; Larry Rivelli-trained Dom the Bomb, a two-time stakes winner against Illinois-breds at Hawthorne; Big Family, who debuted with a 6 ¼-length romp at Gulfstream Park West for trainer Gustavo Delgado; are among the more prominent nominees.

Peter Miller-trained Tizcano, who debuted with a sparkling victory at Gulfstream in June before being sold, has also been nominated after capturing an allowance race at Del Mar last time out.

The pair of 3-year-old stakes will be accompanied on Saturday’s card by the $100,000 Dania Beach (G3), $100,000 Old Hat (G3) and the $100,000 Ginger Brew.

Chief Kitten, Croninthebarbarian and Night Prowler, who finished 1-2-3, respectively, in a three-horse win photo finish in the Pulpit Stakes at Gulfstream Park West on Nov. 29, have all been nominated for the Dania Beach, a 7 ½-furlong grass event for 3-year-olds.

Crown the Kitten, a 5 ¾-length winner of the El Jovan Stakes at Retama last time out; Graham Motion-trained Dr. No, who was steadied repeatedly in a troubled U.S. debut; and Pletcher-trained Escondido, an impressive maiden winner despite trouble last time out; are also noteworthy among the 31 nominees for the Dania Beach.

Pletcher has nominated three for the Old Hat, a six-furlong dash for 3-year-old fillies, including Enchantress, a five-length winner in a recent optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream; Fashion Alert, the winner of the Schuylerville (G3) at Saratoga; andOverprepared, a troubled third in the recent Smart Halo Stakes at Laurel.

R Sassy Lass and Coco’s Wildcat, who finished first and second, respectively, in the Endeavor at Tampa Baby Downs; multiple stakes winner Leap Year Luck; and the Dale Romans-trained duo of Keen Pauline and Taylor S are notable of the 22 nominees for the Old Hat.

The Ginger Brew, a 7 ½-furlong turf stakes for 3-year-olds, attracted 34 nominations, including Chad Brown-trained Consumer Credit, who captured the Wait a While Stakes at Gulfstream Park West on Nov. 29; George Weaver-trained Wait a While runner-upLismore; Team Valor International’s Little Rooster, a debut winner in Ireland who is preparing for her U.S. debut for trainer Wayne Catalano; Graham Motion-trained Miss Temple City, who is undefeated in two starts; and Mike Maker-trained Right On Kitten, who captured the La Senorita Stakes at Retama.

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