Trainer Kathy Ritvo sends Mucho Macho Man to the starting gate Saturday as the 9-5 morning line favorite of the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) at the Fair Grounds.
Mucho Macho Man’s only bad race was when he made his 3-year-old debut and finished off the board in the one mile Holy Bull Stakes (G3). He came back three weeks later and redeemed that loss with a first-place finish in the 8 ½ - furlong Risen Star Stakes (G2) at the Fair Grounds.
Mucho Macho Man is a seasoned runner - he’s competed at six race tracks - and he comes into the Derby with an impressive 2-3-1 record in seven starts. Jockey Rajiv Maragh returns for the mount and the 9-furlongs should be within his range. I look for Mucho Macho Man to be competitive.
The horse I’m most interesting in watching run, though, is Elite Alex (6-1) who was scratched last week out of the Rebel Stakes (G2) to run in the Louisiana Derby. Hopefully that will pay off as a win would give Elite Alex enough graded stakes earnings to get into the Kentucky Derby (G1) starting gate.
With Afleet Alex has his sire and Unbridled as the damsire, the stretch out to 9-furlongs should be ideal for Elite Alex who came up short going a mile in his last two races.
Elite Alex is a descendant of the Mr. Prospector sire line and since 1990 that line has produced eight Louisiana Derby winners.
A long shot I like is Mavericking (20-1) who, since going to the stable of Neil Pessin, finished in the money in his last four starts.
Pessin has been racing Mavericking at a mile on the turf and he has a 19 percent success rate stretching his horses out from a sprint to a route race – Maverickings last race was the 7 ½ - furlong Grindstone Stakes at the Fair Grounds.
Mavericking’s sire is Empire Maker and his damsire is Lord At War. That’s the same nick Pioneerof The Nile is bred on so Mavericking should be able to handle the surface and distance.
A sharp bullet work out March 6 and Mavericking could be ready to run a good race.
Nacho Business (10-1) is all business on the race track. He won his maiden debut in January going a mile in 1:36.82 and last month he was gaining in the final strides but suffered a narrow loss to Arch Traveler in a 9-furlong allowance race at Gulfstream Park.
Since his debut win in January, Nacho Business he has been working out good. He fired three bullet works leading up to the 9-furlong allowance race and since then his works have been sharp.
Nacho Business is coupled with Pants On Fire so you get two for the price of one. I look for Nacho Business to be competitive.