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Simplification Wires Mucho Macho Man
Credit: Coglianese Photos

Simplification Wires Mucho Macho Man

Magic recaps Simplification winning Saturday’s Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park that, while not an official Kentucky Derby (G1) prep race, can often produce a runner or two on the Derby trail. Magic also discusses who he likes moving forward, including any potential price plays.

The track press release:

Ten weeks after turning heads with a powerful maiden victory over the same track, Tami Bobo’s Simplification made an ever bigger statement in his stakes debut with a front-running triumph in Saturday’s $150,000 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park.

The 11th running of the one-mile Mucho Macho Man, the first step on Gulfstream’s road to the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby April 2, headlined five stakes for newly turned 3-year-olds worth $550,000 in purses on the New Year’s Day holiday program.

Ridden by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano for trainer Antonio Sano, Simplification ($10.40) was in control from the outset in his fourth career start. The bay son of Not This Time, who drew several offers following his 16 ¾-length graduation Oct. 23, was stretching out beyond six furlongs for the first time.

“I told everyone, these are good horses but I thought the more distance would be better for my horse,” Sano said. “When the horse ran six furlongs for the first time, he won easy, but that was a maiden special weight.

“The next race the horse was not ready. He did not work every day because [we had] the option to sell the horse,” he added. “The horse was not sold. I told the owner, we’ll enter January 1st for one mile. Castellano worked the horse. He’s a special horse, a very good horse. I’m glad we ran the horse.”

Simplification broke alertly from Post 3 and dragged Castellano to the lead, where he was unmoved through a quarter-mile in 23.70 seconds and a half in 45.81, as Skippylongstocking and Mr Rum Runner alternated in second and third with 4-5 favorite Strike Hard rating along the rail in fourth.

Castellano and Simplification hit the top of the stretch full of run, while Strike Hard tipped out and split Skippylongstocking and Mr Rum Runner to mount a challenge. Castellano shook the reins and Simplification took off again, completing the distance in 1:35.04 over a fast main track to win by four lengths.

It was the second stakes win of the day for Castellano, the Championship Meet’s only five-time leading rider, who also captured the Mucho Macho Man’s companion race, the $100,000 Cash Run for 3-year-old fillies going one mile, aboard Kathleen O.

“Beautiful. That’s what I was looking for today. It’s exactly how I handicapped the race. I watched his replays and I worked the horse, and he’s got speed but at the same time he is able to relax,” Castellano said. “We didn’t expect to be on the lead, because we were trying to stretch out the horse and let him develop a good foundation, but he took it in the nice way. I didn’t want to take away anything that comes easy, and he was straightforward.

“He was happy and satisfied on the lead, galloping along, and when I asked him he took off and re-broke at the quarter pole. I liked the way he did it,” he added. “I felt like he did it very easy, in a nice way. I didn’t see the fractions, but he did a very comfortable, relaxed pace. I liked the way he galloped out. I don’t think he’ll have any problem stretching out. He’s well-bred and has a good foundation. Fingers crossed.”

Strike Hard was a decisive second, 7 ¼ lengths ahead of Mr Rum Runner. They were followed by Graphic Detail, 41-1 long shot Sport Pepper, and Skippylongstocking.

Castellano considered remaining in New York for the winter before making his annual sojourn to Gulfstream, won the Mucho Macho man for the fourth time. He previously won with Mask (2018), Sonic Mule (2017) and Bluegrass Singer (2015).

“I think that’s the type of horse, that’s why the reason I’m here in South Florida, to help develop the new generation of 3-year-olds,” he said. “I’m very lucky and very fortunate to find this horse.”

The $250,000 Holy Bull (G3) Feb. 5 and $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) March 5, both going 1 1/16 miles, are the next steps on the road to the Florida Derby. Sano said he already has Simplification’s next start picked out.

“Right now we’re going on to the Holy Bull,” he said. “I think it’s perfect.”