Mucho Macho Man galloped once around the track this morning under regular exercise rider Mike Heera immediately after the track renovation break. The bay horse is very large, seventeen hands and growing.
“I think he looks a lot bigger now than he did when he was here for the Risen Star,” said Dean Reeves of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing with a nod of agreement from co-owner Jim Culver of Dream Team One Racing Stable. Trainer Kathy Ritvo, who accompanied the 2011 Triple Crown candidate on the equine charter flight from South Florida to New Orleans on Wednesday, was quick to agree,
“Sometimes, when I come to the barn in the mornings this winter, I think he’s gotten bigger overnight,” Ritvo said. “But now, he’s starting to fill out, too. He reminds me of a teenage athlete, a little leggy and gangly at first but quickly growing into his body. I’ve never had a horse as smart as this one is,” said Ritvo. “Did you notice how when they were stretching his front legs when he was still in the stall, he stretched his back legs on his own, just like an athlete would do? He knows how to take care of himself.
“He’s ready to run,” Ritvo added. “I’m sure he remembers he’s back where he was last month, and I think he knows what he’s supposed to do very shortly.”
How does an owner feel in the last days before a big race like Saturday’s Louisiana Derby? “I think inside you get a little anxious,” said Reeves, “but in this business you also have to have some quiet confidence in your horse. We just hope for a good race Saturday and hope we are fortunate enough to win it.”
--Edited from track notes