It was a day of firsts in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Gary Stevens, who came out of retirement earlier this year, had never won the $5 million Classic in his long career. Kathy Ritvo, nor any other woman trainer, had ever won a Breeders’ Cup Classic either. The two talked about the race after Mucho Macho Man won the Classic by a nose over Will Take Charge.
Stevens on Mucho Macho Man: “He was super, super sharp today. My intention in any big race is, I don’t care if you’re coming from off the pace or you’re laying up close, you need a good, clean break. And he left there like a quarter horse today and actually outbroke them. I could have put him on the lead, had him on the lead. He’s a big, long striding horse, and he was powerful down the back side. He was really pretty aggressive. Not rank at all, but giving me a feel different than what I had in the Awesome Again. I heard them coming. I knew they were coming, but he was super, super tough the last 16th of a mile. ”
“The race was a mile and a quarter, and not a mile and a quarter and a stride, so it was perfect. ” Stevens said. “Had I known it was that close, I probably wouldn’t have celebrated. But we’re not wrong very often. He had his head down. He was fully stretched out, and just a tremendous training job by Kathy and a tremendous effort from a great, great horse. He ran huge last year. And it takes so much out of him when you have an effort like he did last year, and to come back and have an improved effort, but I think that was all their planning that had everything to do with the outcome today.”
Ritvo had this to say about Mucho Macho Man: “He’s been a pleasure to get up and see in the barn in the morning. I love this horse. He’s fantastic. He gives us a hundred percent. He’s a happy horse, intelligent. I’m just very blessed to be here. Very blessed to have met him. Very blessed to have my team, Finn, my assistant, the groom, the exercise rider, his hot walker. It’s been an amazing, amazing trip, amazing ride. Everybody that supports us and myself, it’s like Gary said, I thought we would be here, but I still don’t even know how to feel.”