By Mike Welsch
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Cross Traffic and Mucho Macho Man, the first- and third-place finishers in the Grade 1 Whitney here Aug. 3, turned in their final workouts Sunday for their scheduled rematch in Saturday’s Grade 1 Woodward.
Mucho Macho Man, who was narrowly beaten by To Honor and Serve despite an unlucky trip in the 2012 Woodward, was the first of the pair to go shortly after sunrise. With jockey Edgar Prado aboard, Mucho Macho Man breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:03.55, completing his final quarter in 24.86 without urging before galloping out six panels in 1:16.31.
“It was perfect,” said Kathy Ritvo, who trains Mucho Macho Man for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. “I just wanted an easy five-eighths and for him to gallop out well, and that’s exactly what he did. Edgar said he felt great; he was really happy with him, that he just kind of tugged him around there.”
The Woodward will be Mucho Macho Man’s third start following a five-month layoff after the Sunshine Millions Classic, where he was eased to the wire over a sloppy track. Mucho Macho Man, who was beaten a neck in the Woodward and a half-length two months later in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, finished 2 1/4 lengths behind Cross Traffic in the Whitney.
“I think he’ll be a stronger horse on Saturday than he was in the Whitney,” Ritvo said. “He’s a big, muscular horse, so the third race in the cycle should be his best one. He’s definitely matured and grown over the past year, and I think he’s as good as, if not better, going into this race than he was last summer.”