Thursday, January 16, 2014

Gulfstream Park News & Notes - Wed 1/15

'Macho Man' Prepares for Saturday's Classic
Hobbs Takes to the ‘Turf’ for Mongeon
Wildcat Red to Work Friday for Holy Bull

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - About an hour after a heavy rainstorm hit Gulfstream Park on Wednesday morning, Florida-bred fan favorite Mucho Macho Man visited the starting gate to continue preparation for his 2014 debut in Saturday’s $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic.

The reigning Breeders’ Cup Classic winner went to the track around 7:30 a.m. said Kathy Ritvo, who trains the 6-year-old son of Macho Uno for owners Dean and Patti Reeves.

“It was raining really hard this morning, but it stopped by the time he went out,” Ritvo said. “We do it for every race. He went good. He’s very professional. He went up there, galloped and then stood in the gate, backed out and came home. He walked most of the way home. It was all very good.”

Ritvo also plans to school Mucho Macho Man in the Gulfstream Park paddock during the opener of Thursday’s 10-race card, which has a first post of 12:40 p.m.

“We don’t school in the paddock every time because we watch the weather, but since everything is going very well we’ll take him over,” Ritvo said. “He’ll just take a walk. It’s good for him to get out.

“When we get a chance and it works out fine, we will school him. He doesn’t have to be there, but it tells him – the gate and the paddock – that it’s time to run. He’s very professional. It’s just good for him.”

The Classic caps a six-race, $1.3 million Sunshine Millions program highlighting Florida-bred horses. Among the horses expected to challenge Mucho Macho Man are Bernie the Maestro, Joshua’s Comprise, Decaf Again, Gourmet Dinner and Rule Number Six.

“He’s clued in to what’s happening the next couple of days,” said Finn Green, racing manager for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. “He knows what’s going on. He’s ready.”

Hobbs Takes to the ‘Turf’ for Mongeon

Claimed for $50,000 at the tail end of the 2012 Saratoga meeting, Hobbs has turned out to be a multiple-stakes winner, as well as quite a bargain.

Had previous owner Mike Repole not been seeking to become the leading owner of the Saratoga meeting for the second straight year, trainer Kathy Mongeon likely wouldn’t be saddling the 5-year-old gelding for Saturday’s $150,000 Sunshine Millions Turf at Gulfstream.

“We loved the horse. We knew that Repole was trying to be leading owner. That’s why they ran him for the fifty,” said Mongeon, whose claim finished second that day but Repole did go on to be leading owner at the meeting. “I saw Todd Pletcher this summer, and he told me, ‘You never would have gotten the horse’ I said, ‘I know, I know, Repole was trying to be leading owner.’”

Claimed by Repole for $65,000 at Belmont out of a winning maiden-breaking race, Hobbs won an starter optional claiming race at Saratoga before being entered for $50,000 in another optional claiming allowance.

Two starts later, Mongeon saddled Hobbs for a victory in the overnight Montserrat Stakes at Aqueduct. Owned by Peter Kelly, Mongeon’s longtime client, Hobbs won an allowance at Gulfstream last winter before capturing the Besilu Stakes Turf Classic at Tampa Bay Downs last April.

“He’s won at six racetracks. He’s won at Saratoga, Aqueduct, Belmont, Tampa, Gulfstream and Monmouth,” Mongeon said. “There’s not many horses that will win at six different tracks.”

His most recent victory came in a Monmouth Park allowance that was followed by a few unsuccessful stakes tries.

“This summer, every time I put him in a graded race, it looked like he couldn’t step up to the plate. But we had a lot of foot issues with him. I had four glue-ons on him, and two of them fell off behind in a Grade 2,” Mongeon said. “Hopefully, that’s in the past. His feet have been really good, knock on wood.”

Hobbs most recently finished a troubled seventh at Gulfstream in the El Prado Stakes, in which he lacked room and was bumped.

Wildcat Red to Work Friday for Holy Bull

A determined runner-up in the Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year’s Day, Wildcat Red will have his first work since the race on Friday morning as he preps for the Holy Bull.

Trainer Jose Garoffalo plans to have jockey Paco Lopez breeze the D’wildcat colt at Gulfstream. Lopez, back-to-back riding champion in 2010 and 2011, will get a return call in the Holy Bull.

“He’s doing very good,” Garoffalo said of Wildcat Red, who has a record of 2-2-0 in four lifetime starts, including the Juvenile Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream on Nov. 9, where he was disqualified from first to second for interference in the stretch.

“If everything goes the right way, we’ll be entering for the Holy Bull. For the moment, everything is very good,” Garoffalo said. “The horse came back from the race in very good shape. You just have to wait for the right time and that’s it. No news is good news.”

Garoffalo said he is not looking for anything specific out of Wildcat Red on Friday.

“It’s going to be a routine workout because he just ran a couple of weeks ago,” he said. “We’re not going to do much with him, just give him a routine breeze to set him up and then wait for the race.”

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