ARCADIA, CA – Mucho Gusto Broke well and never looked back as he wired the field in Saturday’s $100,000 Lazaro Barrera Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park. This was the fourth career win for the three-year-old son of Mucho Macho Man who finished third last out in the Sunland Derby (G3).
The 1-2 post time favorite, Mucho Gusto, broke well and got out to the front for the first call. Principe Carlo was close by on his outside as was Vantastic. Despite the early pressure from Principe Carlo and Vantastic, Mucho Gusto maintained his lead and took up sole possession of the lead, all while setting fractions of :22.41, :45.48, and 1:10.40. About halfway through the turn, Vantastic picked it up and once again challenged Mucho Gusto. As they hit the top of the stretch, it looked to be a stretch duel in the making, however, Mucho Gusto quickly dismissed that possibility as he exploded away from Vantastic. Mucho Gusto cruised to an easy 3 1/4 length victory with jockey Joe Talamo aboard. Vantastic continued on strong but finish third in a photo behind Manhattan Up. Sparky Ville finished fourth.
“I knew we wouldn’t get an easy lead, so I looked around to see who was going to go with us,” jockey Joe Talamo said. “I just wanted to get him out of there and get him comfortable. It’s amazing how well this horse relaxes. He’s drawn the rail a lot and he’s still able to relax after he gets serious pressure. Today, he took two or three breathers around the turn and then he took off. He’s a pleasure to ride. Anybody could ride this horse. He definitely is really good seven-eighths to a mile, he can for sure go two turns. After he broke his maiden (first time out at Los Alamitos on Sept. 20), I started working him a lot in Del Mar. He never acted like a two-year-old, he acted like an older horse.”
Mucho Gusto returned $3.00 to win, $2.20 to place, and $2.10 to show. Manhattan Up brought back $4.80 to place and $2.80 to show, while Vantastic paid $3.00 to show.