Monday, July 09, 2012


BELMONT PARK NOTES: Sunday, July 8, 2012


ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Kathy Ritvo said Sunday that Mucho Macho Man emerged from his impressive victory in Saturday’s Grade 2 Suburban in good order and was relaxing at the Spa.

“We’re already back in Saratoga and everything’s great,” said Ritvo, who trains the colt for Dean and Patti Reeves. “He came out of it very good.”


The 4-year-old son of Macho Uno has won three out of four starts this year, notching victories in the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic and the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap in addition to the Suburban. He was third in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs on the May 4 Kentucky Derby undercard.

No plans have been made for Mucho Macho Man’s next start. He earned a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 108 for his 2 ½-length triumph in the Suburban under Hall of Famer Mike Smith.

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Hall of Fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens reported Sunday morning that both he and Emma’s Encore exited her 38-1 win in the Grade 3 Victory Ride in fine fettle.

“They always seem to be proud in the morning after they’ve won,” said Jerkens. “It’s your own reading into it, probably. Most likely they do the same thing when they lose. Every once in a while they jump around in the pen even when they finish dead last.”

Jerkens said Emma’s Encore, 3-1-1 in six starts since joining Jerkens’ barn in Florida over the winter, will likely make her next start at Saratoga Race Course. The trainer said he would consider the Grade 1, $300,000 Prioress at six furlongs on August 4 and the Grade 1, $500,000 Test at seven furlongs on August 25 for the 3-year-old Florida-bred daughter of Congrats.

“If she’s doing well,” he added.

Jerkens has had success in both races, having won the Test with Swap Fliparoo (2006), Society Selection (2004) and November Snow (1992) and the Prioress with House Party (2003) and Classy Mirage (1993).

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Phipps Stable’s Point of Entry tuned up for next Saturday’s Grade 1 Man o’War with a bullet half-mile breeze (48.93) over Belmont Park’s inner turf course Sunday morning. The $600,000 Man o’War will be the 4-year-old’s first start since taking the Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland on April 27.

“Being a Dynaformer, it took him awhile to come around,” said the colt’s Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. “He won an allowance race down there [at Gulfstream Park] in December, which was a good race When he came back [in an optional claimer on February 26], Johnny [Velazquez] said they were all going a little bit earlier and he waited and got himself in trouble and finished fourth. His two races at Keeneland were good races, and I just thought after I ran him back in 13 days [between an allowance victory on April 12 and the Elkhorn on April 27] that I’d give him a bit of a blow here and hopefully have a fresh horse for the rest of the year. I think he’s a true mile and three-eighths to a mile and a half kind of horse.”

McGaughey also reported that Donn Handicap winner Hymn Book, second in yesterday’s Suburban after stumbling badly at the start, seemed to come back well and likely would be pointed for the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational Handicap at Saratoga Race Course on August 4.

“I thought he ran a winning race yesterday and if he comes out of it fine, I’m going to try to run him in the Whitney,” McGaughey said. “He kind of stumbled, and [Endorsement] sort of came out or in, I’m not sure which one it was. By the time Garcia got [Hymn Book] back together, he was out the back door somewhere. To make that kind of a long run at a horse who had kind of a perfect trip, you have to come around them all and it’s difficult to catch up.”

Overall though, McGaughey said he was pleased with Hymn Book’s effort behind Mucho Macho Man.

“I thought he ran awfully good, obviously you’d like to know if he’d been in the right decision, but we weren’t and the winner was,” McGaughey said. “It’s disappointing to lose, but you can’t be disappointed in the effort he put in. I think the winner is a nice horse. [Trainer Kathy Ritvo] has done a great job with him and I’m glad for her.

* * *

Alpha, who was declared from the Belmont Stakes after developing a fever the week before the race, continues to train forwardly for a return to competition. Saturday at Saratoga Race Course, the Bernardini colt breezed four furlongs in a bullet 47.33, fastest of 16 moves at the distance.

Last week, Alpha went three furlongs in 36.67 in his first work since May 27, two days before spiking a temperature of 103 degrees.

“He had been treated with antibiotics [for a cut he suffered in the Wood] and went to the Kentucky Derby and ran well [to finish 12th] but coming out of that it seemed like everything caught up to him,” said Art Magnuson, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “He’s training very well.”

Magnuson said no spot had been picked out for Alpha’s return.

“We have so many options, including the 3-year-old stakes at Saratoga,” he said.

In addition to winning the Grade 3 Withers and Count Fleet, Alpha was second to Gemologist in the Grade 1 Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial, and last year was second to eventual Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags in the Grade 1 Champagne for Godolphin Racing. He was a six-length winner of his debut at the Spa last September.

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Grade 1 United Nations winner Turbo Compressor and Grade 2 Monmouth Cup victor Rule will head to Saratoga Race Course this week and could make their next starts at the Spa, said trainer Todd Pletcher this morning.

“They came out of their races well,” he said. “The [Grade 1] Sword Dancer [Invitational, 1 ½ miles on August 18] is a possibility for Turbo Compressor and the [Grade 1] Whitney [Handicap on August 4] is a possibility for Rule.”

Turbo Compressor is now 3-for-4 on the turf, having led all the way in yesterday’s 1 3/8-mile United Nations, while Rule earned his first graded stakes since taking the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay downs in February, 2010.

Pletcher said that Repole Stable’s Stay Thirsty, who was fifth behind Mucho Macho Man in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap, came out of that effort in good shape and was also under consideration for the Whitney.


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