Mucciolo: Mucho Macho Man & Sham Analysis

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

January 4th, 2018

A nice field of eight sophomores will go postward in the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man S. at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. The cast for the one-mile test includes a trio of unbeaten youngsters and I think the winner will come from that group.

Chad Brown’s MASK has just a single race under his belt, but it was a fine unveiling. Bay son of Tapit went off at 2-1 at Belmont in the fall and ran like a well-meant juvenile when pulling clear in a professional tally. $685,000 Kentucky-bred was ridden like a special individual by Javier Castellano and the bay was since flattered when the $900,000 Navistar, who was no match for Mask finishing second, came back to win going a mile on the Gulfstream surface for Todd Pletcher. I think Mask will thrive with more ground and is a fine long-term prospect.

Ellis Park Juvenile winner DAK ATTACK is perfect from two starts and is another three-year-old who has both short and long-term appeal. Dale Romans pupil has shown off a fine turn of foot in a pair of sprint runs to date and the $625,000 son of Ghostzapper scorched a bullet on this main oval in :59 in preparation. He could be the one with a forward move.

SANTIAMEN is also unbeaten from a pair of outings and while he was a bargain $37,000 purchase, the dark bay son of Dialed In has done nothing wrong to date. He still has to prove himself from a class perspective, though having experience on this main strip is surely of benefit, and the Delgado trainee has paired up 90 BRIS Speed figures. Should offer nice value in his stakes bow.

Others in a strong cast include Todd Pletcher’s ever-improving BAL HARBOUR and WHERESHETOLDMETOGO, the one-two finishers of the Smooth Air S. here in December.

I will play Mask on top of the four others in mention with confidence.

Across the country, trainer Bob Baffert appears to be holding the cards in the $100,000 Sham S. (G3) with a pair of standout contenders. MCKINZIE was elevated to first in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) and is the clear one to beat. Son of Street Sense has earned consecutive 100 BRIS Speed figures and shows a trio of sharp morning drills in the interim.

Bay colt will run without blinkers for the first time and I have no interest in trying to doubt what Baffert does with his sophomores. My expectation is that McKinzie will move forward off the equipment change and be hard to deny in the stretch beneath regular pilot Mike Smith.

MOURINHO, a $625,000 son of Super Saver, was a stylish debut winner on this Santa Anita oval and comes in off of a pair of second-place finishes against stakes foes. Speedy sort gives the impression of a high-quality sprinter/miler type which will be just fine for this event.

I am not sure about his future down the road as the competition and distances both increase, though Mourinho could be the “now horse” putting blinkers back on. Likely pacesetter looks like a deserving second choice.

Keith Desormeaux’s MY BOY JACK is the wildcard in the field and gets a comfy rail post in just a second dirt appearance. Son of Creative Cause is a stakes hero on the green with a consistently good late kick, coming in fresh for this after five steady morning drills.

If ‘Jack can duplicate his turn of foot on the main surface he surely merits top three consideration.

SHIVERMETIMBERS was a game maiden winner at Del Mar against a runner who came back to top a nice maiden field next time out. Hollendorfer charge has improving BRIS Speed numbers and might be coming into his own. Son of Shanghai Bobby will be included in the vertical exotics.

While a four-horse superfecta box is rarely my kind of ticket, I do think the Sham will come down to this quartet.