Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Whether it was the format change or not however, the $1.3 million program has attracted two Champions making their 2012 debuts in Awesome Feather and Musical Romance and the popular Mucho Macho Man, third in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) last year behind winner Animal Kingdom.
Awesome Feather was named Champion Two-Year-Old Filly in 2010 after she finished the year undefeated in six races including winning the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. 1) at Churchill Downs. Last year, her 3-year-old campaign was stymied by tendon issues but she came back late in the year to win two stakes. She won the Le Slew Stakes at Belmont Park and the grade 1 Gazelle Stakes at Aqueduct last year before trainer Chad Brown gave her a bit of a winter break. The daughter of Awesome of Course has been at Palm Meadows Training Center where she has been preparing for her return in the $300,000 Florida Millions Distaff. A win Saturday would extend her career undefeated streak to nine wins.
Musical Romance was just named the Champion Filly or Mare Sprinter of 2011 after her year that included winning three stakes at Calder Race Course near Miami, the Presque Isle Downs Master Stakes (gr. II) and the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. Trained by Bill Kaplan who owns the Concorde’s Tune filly with Adam Lazarus’ Pinnacle Racing Stable, Musical Romance will likely be favored in the $150,000 Sunshine Million Filly and Mare Sprint at six furlongs.
Mucho Macho Man makes his seasonal debut at Gulfstream Park the last weekend of January for the second consecutive year having finished fourth behind Dialed In in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) last year. He then won the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) and finished third in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fairgrounds in New Orleans before going on to the Kentucky Derby. Although he disappointed by finishing sixth and seventh in the Preakness and Belmont respectively, Mucho Macho Man was among only Animal Kingdom and Shackleford to start in all three legs of last year’s Triple Crown.
Mucho Macho Man was then sidelined until his successful return when easily winning an Nov. 9 allowance race at Aqueduct. The son of Macho Uno trained by Kathy Ritvo, is perhaps the pre-race star of the $400,000 Sunshine Million Classic, but figures to be well challenged by Adios Charlie and Duke of Mishchief.
Although Adios Charlie did not make it to any of the Triple Crown races last year, he had a successful 3-year-old campaign winning the Jerome (gr. II) at Aqueduct in April and finishing second in the both Peter Pan (gr. II) and Dwyer (gr. II) later in the year.
Duke of Mischief last year won the Charles Town Classic (gr. III) and was second in the Sunshine Classic to Tackleberry. The 6-year-old son of Graeme Hall is a veteran of the older horse ranks with wins in the Philip Iselin (gr. III) and Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) and nearly $1.7 million in earnings on his resume.