HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Lane’s End Racing’s Mask made the jump up from his debut to make mincemeat of his rivals in Saturday’s $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Off alertly from post 6 under Javier Castellano, Mask found himself on the lead without a strong challenger and used that opportunity to set tepid fractions of :24.43, :48.13, and 1:12.92. Turning for home, the post-time betting favorite was in complete command and drew off easily in hand while never once asked for more than a gallop. Mask hit the wire by 6 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:37.65 for the mile-long main track event.
“I didn’t expect my horse to run on the lead, I thought he’d run from behind, but the way he ran today was phenomenal,” Castellano said. “It was a tremendous effort the way he did it. He broke so sharp out of the gate. He’s the kind of horse that is so good mentally and a very mature horse. I remember the first time riding him, he broke a little slow out of the gate, but now he knows what’s going on in the gate and will have a lot of potential. The most important thing is he’s got such a good mind and is mature with everything he does.”
Bal Harbour overcame trailing early after a bobbled start to take a clear second, finishing 3 lengths ahead of Dak Attack in third. Whereshetoldmetogo won the photo for fourth by a neck over Santiamen, while Handsome Franco and Forever Taken completed the order of finish. Coltandmississippi was scratched.
Mask debuted on October 20 at Belmont Park for trainer Chad Brown, winning by a growing 3 lengths over 6 1/2 furlongs. The son of Tapit, a $685,000 yearling purchase, showed that stretching out was in his blood. His second victory in as many career stars increased his career earnings to $105,760.
“Both starts weren’t a surprise, but we were impressed again,” Brown said. “The horse has always trained like he was something special. Again, we learned some things about him. He broke much better in his second start and was able to just go to the lead. He had no problem with a mile. The way he ran, it looks like he’ll have no problem with two turns, either.
“No plans yet,” Brown added. “I really wanted to just see what happened today, what he got out of this race, how he handled the mile and everything. So far, I couldn’t be more pleased with everything. We’ll see how he comes out of the race and go from there. I do want to try the horse two turns in his next start and find out where we stand as far as putting him on the Derby trail, but right now, he looks like he’s firmly on that path.”
Mask returned $4.80 to win, $3 to place, and $2.20 to show. Bal Harbour brought back $3.40 to place and $2.40 to show, while Dak Attack paid $2.40 to show.