Mucho Gusto On to Haskell Inv. (G1) After Securing 4th Graded Victory

06.17.2019 -

Although the distance may have been a concern to some beforehand, Bob Baffert's speedy Mucho Gusto settled nicely off the pace and took charge around the far turn en route to an impressive 2 ¼ length win over Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster in the $100,000 Affirmed Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Joe Talamo, Mucho Gusto, a 3-year-old colt by Mucho Macho Man, got a mile and one sixteenth with aplomb in 1:45.15.

Owned by Michael Lund Petersen, Mucho Gusto now has four graded stakes wins to his credit and an overall mark of 7-5-1-1. With the winner's share of $60,000, he now has earnings of $430,800.

Attentive to the pace from the outset, Mucho Gusto, fresh off a 3 ¼ length score in the Lazaro Barrera Stakes (G3) going seven furlongs on May 18, sat a joint third with Roadster heading to the far turn, but when Talamo stepped on the gas at the 3 ½ furlong pole, he quickly reeled in early pacesetters Visitant and Kingly while leaving Roadster in his wake and was in-hand at the wire.

“With the right trip, I don't think this colt has any distance limitations,” said Talamo, who's ridden Mucho Gusto in all seven of his starts, including a disappointing third two starts back in the Sunland Derby (G3) at 1 1/8 miles on March 24.

“He finally drew outside today, so we were able to kind of sit outside. He can go to the lead or sit second or third. As long as he settles, he'll finish.”

“That race at Sunland set him back a little,” said Baffert. “They went so fast. There's some derbies around, but I think he'll probably go to the Haskell (Invitational, Grade I, 1 1/8 miles July 20 at Monmouth Park). As long as he relaxes, he'll run that far…I think 'Mucho' has really improved.”

Ridden by Mike Smith, Roadster, who subsequent to his Santa Anita Derby win, was beaten 16 ½ lengths in the Kentucky Derby May 4, was off at even money and paid $2.40 and $2.10 while finishing one length in front of Alcatraz Stakes winner Visitant (by Ghostzapper).

Earlier on the card Mucho Macho Man's California Cup Oaks winner Mucho Unusual scored an impressive Allowance victory to up her career earnings to over $250,000. Back east at Gulfstream Park, Stronach Stables homebred Mucho Macho Man son romped in his second start by 11 1/2 lengths. 

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