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Mucho Macho Man Returning for March 26 $1 million Louisiana Derby

Last month’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes winner Mucho Macho Man, owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team One Racing Stable, will be returning from his Gulfstream Park home base to run in the Grade II Louisiana Derby on March 26, trainer Kathy Ritvo confirmed Thursday morning while speaking over the phone from South Florida.

The Louisiana Derby, centerpiece event of the Fair Grounds racing season, will carry a $1 million purse for the first time in its 98-year history this year and become the richest Thoroughbred race ever run in New Orleans.

“Yes, we’re coming back,” Ritvo said of the Macho Uno colt who was runner-up in Aqueduct’s Grade II Remsen and Grade II Nashua Stakes last fall before finishing fourth in Gulfstream’s Grade III Holy Bull Stakes Jan. 30. “Mucho Macho Man seemed to love the track at Fair Grounds, so there’s no reason not to come back. The horse is doing great and we’re all looking forward to coming back to New Orleans.

“We’ll probably arrive in the middle of the week like we did last time, and I’ll be flying on the plane with him,” Ritvo concluded.

Earlier this week, trainer Ken McPeek confirmed that Catesby Clay’s Rogue Romance, third in the Risen Star and third in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall, will also be returning from South Florida to run in the Louisiana Derby.

MIGUEL MENA THREE WINS SHY OF 1,000-CAREER WIN MILESTONE – Jockey Miguel Mena enters Friday’s 10-race program at Fair Grounds with 997 wins and has seven mounts scheduled for the day in his pursuit of the 1,000 career win milestone.

The native of Lima, Peru, has his first mount in the second half of Friday’s Daily Double aboard Stephen Smoot’s Berry Valid as the 3-1 morning line choice in the wagering and Mena comes right back in the third race on Donamire Farm’s Class Clown, also pegged at 3-1.

Mena’s other five mounts are in the fifth race on Parrish, Randall and Schenck’s August High (10-1), the seventh race on Southern Equine Stables’ Show Elle Thestage (7-2), the eighth on Willis Horton’s  Diamond Benz (6-1 but entered for main track only), the ninth on Robert Orth and Wesley Hawley’s Couric (9-2), and in Friday’s finale aboard Kevin Mullikin’s Pioneering Native at 4-1 in the morning line.