Sent to post as a 41-1 long shot despite coming off a second-place finish in the Grade 2 McKnight, Mucho Mas Macho let the big boys battle it out early before zipping past them in the stretch to win by a neck. The 4-year-old gelding was ninth in a field of 10 horses in mid-stretch before unleashing his winning kick.
“He’s a little horse, but he’s still full of dynamite. But being that he’s a little horse, he’s only got this much dynamite in him,” said Collazo, raising his hands and then bringing them closer together to signify a small amount. “I’ve got an eighth-of-a-mile explosion. I can’t start lighting the fuse at the three-eighths pole.”
Mucho Mas Macho will be more highly regarded Monday when he goes to post in the $100,000 The Vid Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Rated second at 3-1 behind 5-2 morning-line favorite No Lift Shift, the gray gelding will be ridden for the first time by Fernando Jara, who got acquainted with his mount during a half-mile workout over the Gulfstream turf last Sunday.
“I’ve got all the confidence in the world that he’ll ride him the right way. If he rides him where he’s last at the head of the lane, he’ll blow by them. But if he’s circling horses at the three-eighths pole going wide, he’ll get beat,” Collazo said. “I think he has a grasp of what to do and what not to do.”
Mucho Mas Macho will make his second start back from a three-month freshening in the 1 1/16-mile The Vid. The Kentucky-bred gelding finished evenly to come in third behind No Lift Shift in a turf allowance at Gulfstream on Aug. 3. He will have to improve more than 3 ½ lengths Monday to reverse the decision over the morning-line favorite.
No Lift Shift, who set a pressured pace and held gamely to defeat stakes winner Alley Oop Oop by nearly a length last month, will be making his fourth start since making the shift to turf for trainer Manuel Wayar. Jonathan Gonzales, who was aboard for No Lift Shift’s initial turf score, has the return mount but will not be in receipt of the five-pound apprentice allowance in a stakes race.
Ducduc, a veteran stakes performer on turf and dirt, is rated third in the morning line at 4-1 for trainer Bisnath Parboo. The 7-year-old son of Langfuhr has won nine of 31 starts on turf, including an allowance score over a yielding course two starts back. In his most recent start, he overcame trouble to finish third over a sloppy track behind Where’s Sterling, who has been entered in Sunday’s stakes for the main track only and would likely be favored in the unlikely event that the race was taken off the turf.
While Ducduc is a grizzled stakes veteran, Heiko will be making only his second stakes start and first since finishing 10th in the Arlington-Washington Futurity (G3) in September 2011. The Marty Wolfson-trained 4-year-old most recently won an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream, only to be disqualified and placed second for interference.
“His last race was good. He got disqualified, but it was a good race. He’s a nice horse. He’s been 1, 2, 3 about every time,” said Wolfson, who took over the training of the 4-year-old son of Mr. Greeley last winter.
Jilver Chamafi, who entered the weekend with a one-win lead over Gonzales in the jockey standings with 19 wins, will try to make amends Monday aboard Heiko, rated fourth at 6-1.
Brother Pat, who finished fourth behind No Lift Shift after a wide trip in the recent allowance, will break from the outside post under jockey John Delgado. The 4-year-old son of Any Given Sunday, rated at 8-1, scored a victory over the Gulfstream turf last winter.
Backseat Memories, who notched a dead-heat victory in the Showing Up Stakes at Gulfstream two starts back on July 20, will seek to rebound from an off-the-board stakes finish last time out.
Bellefire, Midnight Cello and Ashtar round out the field of turf candidates. Isutalkintome, like Where’s Sterling, was entered for the main track only.