MUCHO JOY FOR MACHO; BREEDERS' CUP SPECIAL.
MUCHO MACHO MAN is Ladbrokes' 4-6 favourite to be crowned America's Horse Of The Year for 2013 after his tear-jerking victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Saturday.
A victory for the five-year-old in the $5m Classic contained all the elements of a Hollywood blockbuster - Mucho Macho Man was feared dead when foaled three weeks overdue, his trainer Kathy Ritvo (right) had a heart transplant five years ago, while 50-year-old jockey Gary Stevens returned to the race-riding only last January after retiring from the saddle in November 2005.
And the triumph was gained in the most dramatic fashion as Stevens forced his mount, runner-up in the 2012 Classic, home by a nose from Will Take Charge, with Aidan O'Brien's Declaration Of War just a head back in third under the trainer's son Joseph.
"I was just hoping he'd got it," said Ritvo, making history as the first woman to train a Breeders' Cup Classic winner. "When I saw Gary shake his stick, I was confident."
Stevens added: "This was the one race missing from my career. I didn't think I'd get one - and I sure didn't think it would come in 2013."
Now Mucho Macho Man is odds-on with Ladbrokes to win the coveted Horse Of The Year vote, and the Magic Sign's David Williams explained: "He's 4-6 with us, but people shouldn't forget that the reigning title-holder Wise Dan will also be popular after he gained back-to-back wins in the Mile on Saturday evening." Ryan Moore was in blistering form with a double, riding Dank to victory in the Filly& Mare Turf before pouncing aboard Magician to deny The Fugue and Will Buick in the Turf.
The two European successes came on the back of a treble on the opening day of the fixture on Friday, courtesy of London Bridge (Marathon), Outstrip (Juvenile Turf) and Chriselliam (Juvenile Fillies Turf).
EMOTIONAL: Gary Stevens celebrates on Mucho Macho Man after their Classic success