Sonic Mule for trainer Todd Pletcher picked up a stakes win in Saturday’s Mucho Macho Man ($100k) at Gulfstream, a race whose most interesting runner might not have even hit the exacta.
Fractions – 23.14, 45.85, 1:11.54, 1:37.52
Winning Beyer – 85
Winning Margin – head
Pace – The pace of this race was honest, not too fast. The pace-setter, Recruiting Ready, gave it up pretty easily and dropped back. He might not want to go this far but is better than he showed here. The early presser Han Sense was 39-1 and overmatched. Cavil, a somewhat surprising 5-2 favorite off an off-the-turf maiden win, tracked inside and dropped back.
On the Winner – The winner, Sonic Mule (#8) had a nice stalking trip, took over and held off State of Honor (#10), who was making his dirt debut for Mark Casse.
Sonic Mule had won his previous start going six furlongs and wasn’t even going to run in this mile race until things changed on entry day. Pletcher to Mike Welsch of the Daily Racing Form:
“We had originally planned to point for the Hutcheson,” Pletcher said. “When the race didn’t fill, we decided the horse was doing so well we’d take a shot we could stretch him out to a mile. He fought hard.”
Typically if the trainer’s first reaction is that the horse is a sprinter, he’s probably a sprinter.
On the Others – State of Honor ran fine in his dirt debut and was wide on the turn but it was an overall pretty clean trip for him. That said, he did have the whole stretch to get by.
The most interesting horse coming out of the race is Talk Logistics (#3) for trainer Eddie Plesa. This horse was in a good spot behind the pace into the far turn but was stuck waiting for room and shuffled back a few spots, even steadied a bit late on the turn. Finally, Paco Lopez took him to the far outside and he was moving very well late, though the top pair got the jump on him. It’s not out of the question to think he could have won if he had gotten clear sooner.
I was curious to see how Even Thunder (#4) would stretch out for trainer Joe Orseno, but he was bumped pretty soundly shortly after the start, taken back and never got involved. That said, he didn’t really make a move that showed you he had a lot of run after his poor start.
Overall Take – It’s hard to envision the Derby winner coming from this race though Talk Logistics looks promising. The waters will get much deeper though for many of these next time. The circuit’s next Derby Prep, the February 4th Fountain of Youth, could see both presumptive 2-year old Champion Classic Empire and Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) winner McCracken make their 3-year old debuts.