The outcome of the $150,000 Mucho Macho Man S. on New Year’s Day at Gulfstream Park was only partially decided on the racetrack. The final result was determined by the stewards, who awarded victory to 19-1 longshot Dreaming of Kona via the disqualification of first-past-the-post Legacy Isle.
The one-mile test for newly turned three-year-olds drew 11 entries, and Legacy Isle ran a gritty race to lead at every call. The pacesetter carved out stiff fractions of :22.79, :45.20, and 1:10.03 while closely tracked by Dreaming of Kona, and even though the pace decelerated sharply in the homestretch (with the final furlong elapsing in :14.28), Legacy Isle crossed the wire clear by half a length over the charging Dreaming of Kona.
But the stewards called an inquiry, and Scott Spieth (the jockey of Dreaming of Kona) filed an objection. The head-on replay revealed Legacy Isle drifting outward significantly at the sixteenth pole, impeding Dreaming of Kona. As a result, the stewards reversed the original order of finish, upgrading Dreaming of Kona to the winner’s circle.
Lord Miles finished third over the troubled General Jim, who had nowhere to run while boxed in behind rivals down the homestretch. Laver, Mr Bob, Il Miracolo, Baby Billy, Wine Empire, Fliparino, and Eyes On the King completed the order of finish. The final time was 1:37.55.
A son of Fast Anna out of the Maria’s Mon mare Pliant, Dreaming of Kona is conditioned by Aldana Spieth on behalf of owners Aldena Gonzalez Racing, Lisa Ballou, and Steve Ballou. The gray colt entered the Mucho Macho Man in unheralded form, having previously run third in the six-furlong Inaugural S. at Tampa Bay Downs, but stretching out in distance seemed to do him good. A foray on the Road to the Kentucky Derby may be in Dreaming of Kona’s future.
“He won his first race so incredibly handily at Presque Isle (Downs), but the competition wasn’t of this caliber. So, for him to put a performance like this in against this caliber of competition really kind of causes us to recalibrate our thoughts,” Lisa Ballou told Gulfstream Park.
Two other stakes for sophomores took place earlier on the card. In the one-mile Cash Run S. for fillies, Infinite Diamond shrugged off a last-place finish from the Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland last fall to prevail in comfortable fashion. The daughter of Bee Jersey tracked splits of :23.47, :46.40, and 1:11.17 from second place before taking over in the homestretch to beat Padma and Lynx by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:36.70, 0.85 faster than the final time from the Mucho Macho Man.
Arella Star, Miss Ucrania, Looking for Hope, Alma Rosa, and Atthecrossroads completed the order of finish behind Infinite Diamond, a Patrick Biancone trainee ridden to victory Jose Ortiz. Prior to the Alcibiades, Infinite Diamond had crushed a one-mile maiden special weight at Gulfstream by 14 1/2 lengths, suggesting she holds an affinity for Florida’s famous oval.
The six-furlong Limehouse S. also produced a notable outcome as Super Chow carved out quick fractions of :22.31 and :44.95 before staying on to beat Turbo by one length, with a gap of nine lengths back to Two of a Kind, X Y Point, Dangerous Ride, and Cajun Dream.
Trained by Jorge Delgado and ridden by Chantal Sutherland, Super Chow reached the finish line in a snappy 1:09.88 to earn his third consecutive stakes win and his fifth victory from six starts. One of those stakes wins came in the Inaugural at Tampa, where Super Chow defeated Dreaming of Kona.
A son of three-time Grade 1-winning sprinter Lord Nelson, Super Chow is following in his sire’s footsteps as a talented speedster. Races like the Woody Stephens (G1) and H. Allen Jerkens (G1) could be viable long-term targets.