DEL MAR, CA – Mucho Gusto was a pleasure to watch in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar. With his win here today, the 2-year-old son of Mucho Macho Man adds his name to the list of Bob Baffert trainees with eyes on the 2019 Kentucky Derby.
The 4-5 post time favorite Mucho Gusto exploded like a rocket out of the gate to became the early leader. Savagery also broke well and put the pressure on Mucho Gusto early but quickly eased back, content to sit just off the leader. The first threat to Mucho Gusto came as they rounded the turn when Sparky Ville made a 3-wide move for the lead. Mucho Gusto responded well to the encouragement by jockey Joe Talamo and kept distance between himself and the challengers and came home to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Meanwhile, Sparky Ville and Savagery dueled it out for second. Savagery did well to hold off Sparky Ville and finished impressively for second behind Mucho Gusto. Sparky Ville finished third and Extra Hope was fourth.
“I’ve been very excited to ride this horse. And after this race, I’d say I’m really impressed with him,” said jockey Joe Talamo. “We got sandwiched coming away from there, but he went on about his business. He ran well throughout; he was well within himself, with his ears up. When a horse would come to him, he’d pick it back up again. He’s trained well right from the start and he’s showing his stuff in the afternoons.”
Mucho Gusto is owned by Michael Lund Petersen and trained by Bob Baffert. This was the second consecutive win for Mucho Gusto in as many career starts. With major Kentucky Derby prep races just around the corner, it is likely that we will see more of this promising young horse in the near future.
“He’s a pretty cool horse; there’s nothing flashy about him but he gets the job done,” said trainer Bob Baffert. “They went fast early but when they came to him, he rebroke like the good ones do. I was with my assistant and I said ‘Here’s when you find out what they’re made of.’ ”
Mucho Gusto returned $3.60 to win, $3.00 to place, and $2.10 to show. Savagery brought back $6.20 to place and $3.20 to show, while Sparky Ville paid $2.20 to show.
Scratched: Metropol, Sueno