'Mucho' points to Louisiana Derby

Updated: March 3, 2011, 1:51 AM ET
By Mike Welsch | Daily Racing Form



HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -- Mucho Macho Man, winner of the Grade 2 Risen Star, will return to Fair Grounds to have his final Kentucky Derby prep in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on March 26.

Trainer Kathy Ritvo said she met with principal owner Dean Reeves on Tuesday, at which point the pair decided to bring Mucho Macho Man back to New Orleans rather than keep him here for the $1 million Florida Derby the following weekend.

Mucho Macho Man is owned in partnership by Reeves and the Dream Team Racing Stable.

"We just wanted to pick what we thought was the easiest spot for his last start before the Derby, and it looks like the Florida Derby could be coming up pretty tough," said Ritvo, the wife of Gulfstream Park vice president of racing Tim Ritvo. "He obviously likes the racetrack at the Fair Grounds and its long stretch, and this also will give us an extra week to prepare him for the Kentucky Derby, if everything goes well."

Ritvo said she plans to breeze Mucho Macho Man an easy half-mile on Saturday with his exercise rider aboard and then come back the next two weeks with longer works under jockey Rajiv Maragh.

Maragh rode Mucho Macho Man to victory in the Risen Star, replacing regular jockey Eibar Coa who suffered a broken neck in a riding mishap at Gulfstream the previous afternoon.

Ritvo said she and Reeves visited Coa in Memorial East Regional Hospital in nearby Hollywood on Wednesday morning.

"He was in good spirits and actually in rehab when we arrived," Ritvo said.

Coa was to have a second surgery on his broken wrist Wednesday afternoon.