Breaking from the rail for the third time in his six-race career, Bob Baffert’s Mucho Gusto took serious early pressure but dictated terms throughout, shaking off his pursuers a furlong from home en route to a handy 3 1/4 length win in the Lazaro Barrera Stakes at Santa Anita.
Ridden by Joe Talamo, the 3-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Mucho Macho Man got seven furlongs in 1:22.96 after fractions of 22.41, 45.58 and 1:10.40.
“He’s drawn the rail a lot and he’s still able to relax after he gets serious pressure,” said Talamo, who’s ridden Mucho Gusto in all of his races. “Today, he took two or three breathers around the turn and then he took off…After he broke his maiden, I started working him a lot at Del Mar. He never acted like a 2-year-old, he acted like an older horse.”
Mucho Gusto was off as the 1-2 favorite in field of six sophomores and paid $3.00, $2.20 and $2.10.
Owned by Michael Lund Petersen, Mucho Gusto picked up his third graded stakes win and a check of $60,000.
Last after the first quarter mile, the Phil Oviedo-trained Manhattan Up finished with a flourish, besting Vantastic by a head for second money. Vantastic, who sat a close third early, tried to pounce on the winner turning for home, but couldn’t match strides with him an eighth of a mile out. Ridden by Flavien Prat, Vantastic finished 3 1/2 lengths in front of second choice Sparky Ville.