Hallandale Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Breeders' Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man will make his second start of 2014 in the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 8. The 6-year-old's connections made the announcement Saturday.
"There were some great opportunities for him, but the horse is telling us he's getting ready now," trainer Kathy Ritvo said. "We thought long and hard about where to go, and we have to do what we feel is best for the horse. I think he'd run well wherever he went. We know about going to Santa Anita now, so it's nice to go back."
Owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Mucho Macho Man won the Sunshine Classic at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 18 by 14 lengths one year after failing to finish. That was his first start since winning the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.
"The people in Dubai have been very kind and professional," racing manager for owners Dean and Patti Reeves, Finn Green said about going to the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 29. "We examined our options over a long period of time, and feel it's the best thing for the horse to stay here and go to Santa Anita.
"It came down to what it's always been with Kathy and I and what we feel was best for the horse. With a horse like him, you have to look at all of your options. At this stage in his career, there's business considerations that you have to examine. The business considerations came out that it's best to keep the horse here."
Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park, Mucho Macho Man put in a five-furlong workout with regular exercise rider Nick Petro. The Eclipse Award finalist covered the distance in 58.16 seconds, galloping out six furlongs in 1:10.77 over a fast main track.
"He did it nice and easy, too," Ritvo said. "The track was fast, but he just did it easy. He's a happy horse. He's just doing really, really well right now."
The 6-year-old has earned $5.58 million in 24 starts with nine victories.