Pants On Fire, 'Macho Man' Kentucky Derby-Bound

For want of a shoe, the race might have been lost, or at least that’s the way Kathy Ritvo, trainer of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team One Racing’s Mucho Macho Man, was looking at things Sunday morning on the Fair Grounds backstretch.

In Saturday’s $1 million Louisiana Derby, centerpiece race of the New Orleans Thoroughbred racing season, Mucho Macho Man, the public’s choice, lost his right front shoe in his first stride out of the gate but still ran a good race, finishing third, beaten three-quarters of a length by the winning Pants On Fire, owned by George and Lori Hall.

Pants On Fire was shipped out early Sunday morning and his trainer Kelly Breen had already returned to Sunland Park to saddle horses in Sunday’s Grade III Sunland Derby, but before leaving Breen indicated that Pants On Fire would be pointed for his next start in the Kentucky Derby less than six weeks away.

That left Kathy Ritvo and Mucho Macho Man easily accessible on the backstretch, and the 41-year-old mother of two and her horse appeared none the worse for wear despite Saturday’s mishap.

“We can’t win every time,” said the always upbeat Ritvo. “We’d like to, but we can’t. We’ll just put what happened yesterday down as a learning experience, but you would think that when a horse loses a shoe right out of the gate it probably costs him two lengths, or at least one length.

“When I was watching the race, ‘Macho’ just didn’t seem to be getting a good hold of the track the last part of it, and I couldn’t figure out why,” Ritvo said, “but then when one of the gate guys came up to me and gave me the shoe right after the race it made a lot more sense to me. I didn’t know about the shoe until then.”

“The horse is doing fine this morning,” said Ritvo. “I’m not discouraged at all. I don’t see any reason right now that we can’t go on and shoot for the Kentucky Derby with him.”

FAIR GROUNDS OAKS WINNER DAISY DEVINE KENTUCKY OAKS-BOUND – James Miller’s Daisy Devine, heroine of Saturday’s $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks, is being pointed for a start in the upcoming $1 million Kentucky Oaks, according to Debbie Miller, wife of the owner.

“We’re going to be at the Kentucky Oaks on our fifth anniversary,” Miller said. “We got married on May 6, 2006. It was Kentucky Derby Day that year, and we had a Kentucky Derby party.”

Should Daisy Devine go on and win the Kentucky Oaks, she would become the fifth winner of the last seven renewals of the Fair Grounds Oaks to go on and also win the Kentucky Oaks blanket of Stargazer Lilies.

MACHEN, WILKINSON EMERGE FROM LOUISIANA DERBY UNSCATHED – Assistant trainer Rick Giannini of conditioner Neil Howard’s barn reported that Courtlandt Farms’ Machen and Gaillardia Racing’s Wilkinson, fifth and sixth, respectively, in Saturday’s $1 million Louisiana Derby, both came out of the race in good order.

“They’re both fine,” said Giannini. “Machen got a little tired, and Wilkinson got a little too far back early, but then he came running. Maybe he can be like his daddy (Lemon Drop Kid) and go on and win the Belmont Stakes

“As for (Courtlandt Farms’) Prime Cut, he ran huge,” said Giannini, “and he’s doing fine this morning, too.”

Prime Cut beat Adele Dilschneider’s highly regarded Bind by three-quarters of a length in Saturday’s fourth race on the Louisiana Derby Day program.

Ashley Giannini, wife of Howard’s assistant and herself an assistant to trainer Steve Margolis, reported that the Margolis-trained coupling of Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein’s Early Return and Cash Refund, third and fourth, respectively, in Saturday’s $150,000 Duncan Kenner Stakes, as well as Thoroughbred Futures Racing’s Switching Gears and Gold Square’s Little Miss Holly, eighth and ninth in Saturday’s $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks, all appeared well Sunday morning.

AL STALL JR.’S LOUISIANA DERBY DAY HORSES ALL IN FINE FETTLE SUNDAY – Trainer Al Stall Jr., who saddled Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Might, a full-sister of their 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame, to win a maiden race Saturday; that same ownership’s Bind to run second in Saturday’s fourth race; Adele Dilschneider’s Apart to run third in Saturday’s $400,000 New Orleans Handicap; and Claiborne Farm and Dilschneider’s Left to run seventh in the $1 million Louisiana Derby; reported all those horses came out of the Louisiana Derby Day program in fine fettle.

“All the horses are fine, we think,” Stall said Sunday morning, “and they’re all going to run back probably at Churchill and probably in just regular races. There’s no (condition) book out yet, so we don’t have anything definite planned.”