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Mucho Macho Man Preview: Pickin’ Time Cuts Back
Pickin' Time winning the Nashua (Credit: NYRA)

Mucho Macho Man Preview: Pickin’ Time Cuts Back

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – John Bowers Jr. homebred Pickin’ Time should be sharp as he cuts back by a furlong and a turn for Saturday’s $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

The Mucho Macho Man is a one-turn dirt mile event restricted to 3-year-olds. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on an 11-race card and has a local post time of 4:45 PM.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the Mucho Macho Man:

1. Ultimate Badger 15/1 – He takes his third try at the stakes level and first in a non-graded event after finishing double-digit lengths behind the winner in both the Iroquois (G3) and the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2). He broke his maiden on debut in a muddy 5-furlong sprint at Ellis Park and defeated optional claimers going 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs 2 starts back.

2. Jirafales 15/1 – He takes a big step up to the stakes ranks after breaking his maiden on debut by 4 3/4 lengths against fellow Florida-breds in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint at Gulfstream Park West. He must prove that he can repeat that dominating effort against winners and in open company, but trainer Gustavo Delgado repeats 32% of the time with last-out victors.

3. Easy Time 12/1 – He broke his maiden on debut by 2 3/4 lengths while sprinting 7 furlongs on Woodbine’s synthetic main track and must now prove that he can transfer that talent onto dirt while facing winners for the first time. His Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse is 16% going synthetic to dirt and his sire Not This Time’s offspring have won 23% of their starts thus far.

4. Kiger 8/1 – He broke his maiden at second asking in a two-turn dirt mile event at Gulfstream Park West and was a head away from defeating optional claimers over this course and distance on December 10. Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. will leg up Edgard Zayas for the first time since his debut; those two have combined to win 29% of their shared mounts since 2019.

5. Mutasaabeq 5/2 – He gives dirt another try after winning the Bourbon Stakes (G2) on the Keeneland turf 2 starts back and suffering an extremely wide trip throughout the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) before finishing 10th. The Into Mischief colt earned a field-best 84 Beyer Speed Figure for breaking his maiden on debut at Saratoga in a 5 1/2-furlong dirt sprint.

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6. Awesome Gerry 6/1 – The second Saffie Joseph Jr. runner adds blinkers for the first time, a 26% winning move for the barn, after finishing second in a 7-furlong dirt sprint stakes at Delta Downs. He won his first 2 career starts before finishing fourth in the Nyquist Stakes behind Kentucky Derby (G1) contender Highly Motivated and a pair of next-out winners.

7. Pickin’ Time 3/1 – He reunites with jockey Joe Bravo for the third time after the two New Jersey natives teamed up to win the 6-furlong Smoke Glacken Stakes and finish second in the 1-mile Sapling Stakes, both at Monmouth Park. He also won the 1-turn mile Nashua Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct before a well-beaten fourth in the Remsen Stakes (G2) last out.

8. Raison d’Air 12/1 – He broke his maiden in September over this course and distance by an eye-popping 13 1/2 lengths but failed to back it up in the 7-furlong sloppy off-turf Armed Forces Stakes two weeks later, finishing fourth. He should be prominent early, especially since he’s been unraced in 3 months, but he must improve upon his career-best 67 Beyer Speed Figure.

9. Papetu 20/1 – He won his first 2 career starts (both local 5 1/2-furlong sprints) to earn shots in the Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) and Hopeful Stakes (G1), but he failed to finish better than fifth or within 11 lengths of the winner Jackie’s Warrior. That horse looks like a serious runner, so perhaps he’ll regain that magic winning touch in this slightly easier spot.

10. Big Thorn 5/1 – After finishing second on debut in a local 5-furlong sprint against open company, he dropped down to the Florida-bred level and won twice at Gulfstream Park West by a combined 9 1/2 lengths. Paco Lopez rides for the third straight time and has a history of doing well with trainer David Fawkes; they’ve combined to win 24% together since 2019.

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