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2012 Suburban Handicap and Victory Ride Stakes

Mike Smith and owner Dean Reeves share a high five after Mucho Macho Man's win in the 2012 Suburban Handicap
Date: 07/07/2012

The $350,000 Suburban Handicap (G2) features the top older handicap horses of the east going 1 1/8 miles around one turn of the Belmont Park main track, in an early prep for the Whitney Handicap (G1) and ultimately the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1). Just 4,166 fans braved the 100-degree heat and sunny skies on Long Island, with the forecasted rains holding off until after the race card. To Honor and Serve was sent off as the 7-5 favorite in the field of 7, third in the Metropolitan (G1) after winning both the Cigar Mile (G1) and Westchester Handicap (G3). In to challenge him included 9-2 second choice Stay Thirsty, off a second place finish in the Vanlandingham Stakes, and 5-1 third choice Hymn Book, fifth in the Pimlico Special (G3) after finishing fourth in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2).

Mucho Macho Man draws away in the stretch

Jockey Ramon Dominguez sent 8-1 Trickmeister to the lead exiting the chute and he set quick fractions of 23.06, 45.68, and 1:09.53 while pressed by 11-2 fourth choice Mucho Macho Man a length behind, with To Honor and Serve another length back in third. On the far turn, new jockey Mike Smith asked Mucho Macho Man for run and he easily passed the tiring Trickmeister at the 1/4 pole, opening up a 2 length lead midstretch through 1 mile in 1:33.82. Hymn Book, last for the first 7 furlongs, put in a strong late rally but Mucho Macho Man cruised past the post 2 1/2 lengths ahead in a time of 1:46.58 over the fast track. It was another 3 lengths back to pacesetter Trickmeister third, while favorite To Honor and Serve checked in fourth.

Pgm  Horse            Jockey       Win  Place  Show
 6   Mucho Macho Man  Smith      13.60   5.40  4.10
 4   Hymn Book        Garcia             5.20  3.90
 5   Trickmeister     Dominguez                6.20

Winning Time:  1:46.58

$2 Exacta 6-4                73.00
$2 Trifecta 6-4-5           570 00
$2 Superfecta 6-4-5-7     1,480.00
Results Chart

Left: Mucho Macho Man in the winner's circle. Trainer Kathy Ritvo said, "That was fabulous! What a great day! He likes to be here, likes the racetrack here, and we're really happy to be here. He ran a great race. We're so excited. We're going to take it slow and see what happens. We'll make sure he comes back great and we'll look again (at what's next)."

Right: Mucho Macho Man heads back to the barn after the race. Jockey Mike Smith said, "I'm really impressed, to be honest with you. I knew he was a nice horse, but he really, really impressed me. From the time I got on him he was so confident. He left the gate in great order for a big horse, he's quick! I mean, every step was a winning one. I couldn't believe how easy he beat (a strong field). I mean, you put that bunch in the Breeders' Cup Classic, your favorite is going to come out of this race. He just ran them off their feet. I'm shocked at how impressive he was was. I didn't touch him."

Left: Mucho Macho Man in the post parade. His owner Dean Reeves said, "It was an awesome job by Mike Smith, Kathy, and everyone involved. I'm so happy for my horse. He ran a good race, a solid race. This is really an extraordinary horse. He beat a great field of horses today."

Right: Second place finisher Hymn Book in the post parade. His trainer Shug McGaughey said, "I thought he ran great. It's just a shame we gave up that much at the break. He stumbled leaving there, and by the time Alan (Garcia) had him gathered up they were going pretty fast. He just got too far out of it to try to make up that much ground against that kind of horses. He passed all of them but one. I'm disappointed because I think if he could have been in a good position then he would have had a chance, but I'm pleased with the way he ran."

Left: Third place finisher Trickmeister returns after the race. The 8-1 shot set the pace under regular rider Ramon Dominguez, but tired late to finish third beaten 5 1/2 lengths. The Richard Dutrow Jr. trainee improved his record to 6 wins, 0 seconds, and 1 third in 8 starts, earning $286,200 for owners IEAH Stables and Pegasus Holdings Group.

Right: Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite To Honor and Serve. Jockey Jose Lezcano said, "I had a very good trip. That's all I can say." Trainer Bill Mott added, "No apparent excuse."

Emma's Encore (left) rallies to catch Jamaican Smoke (rail)

Immediately before the Suburban, a field of 6 three-year-old fillies sprinted 6 furlongs in the $150,000 Victory Ride Stakes (G3). Agave Kiss, undefeated in 6 career starts including the Cicada (G3), Trevose, and Ms. Preakness so far this year, was sent off as the 3-10 favorite over 6-1 second choice Gypsy Robin, winner of 3 straight including the Beaumont (G2) at Keeneland, and 7-1 third choice Jamaican Smoke, an allowance winner last out and making her stakes debut.

Agave Kiss battled for the lead with Jamaican Smoke for the first 1/4 mile in 21.46 before Jamaican Kiss took over, getting the half in 44.00 while stalked by 11-1 Tu Endie Wei. Entering the stretch, Jamaican Smoke continued to lead through 5/8 in 56.19 as Agave Kiss lost touch with the pace. 39-1 longest shot Emma's Encore, 5th early, closed late to win going away by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:08.89. It was just a neck back from Jamaican Smoke to Tu Endie Wei third, while Agave Kiss checked in 5th beaten 12 1/2 lengths for her first loss.

Pgm  Horse             Jockey       Win  Place  Show
 2   Emma's Encore     Alvarado   80.00  26.00 61.00
 3   Jamaican Smoke    Castellano         7.60 18.60
 4   Tu Endie Wei      Leparouxz               25.60

Winning Time:  1:09.89

$2 Exacta 2-3               438.00
$2 Trifecta 2-3-4         2,643.00
$2 Superfecta 2-3-4-6     6,889.00
Results Chart

Left: Emma's Encore in the winner's circle with trainer Allen Jerkens in the hat. Jerkens said, "She's a little bit off behind, and we have to keep trying to keep her sound and feeling good. We made a mistake and ran her in that 1 1/8 race (Gulfstream Park Oaks). It looked like this was a mistake, too, till now. It's amazing, because I didn't have anything else and the lady sent me this filly and she turns out to be good. I was being optimistic when I picked this race. We'll probably think about the Prioress. We've had a little luck in the Test Stakes, too."

Right: Emma's Encore heads into the paddock before the race. Winning jockey Junior Alvarado said, "I was so confident in the filly. (Jerkens) said 'There's going to be a lot of speed in the race.' She broke really good, really sharp and got herself comfortable. By the 5/16 pole, she started to pick it up and I said to myself, 'Wow, they're going to have to be running today for her to get beat' because she picked it up right away and gave me a nice, good kick."

Left: Second place finishe Jamaican Smoke returns after the race. The 7-1 third choice led the field into the stretch under jockey Javier Castellano but could not contain the winner. The Eddie Kenneally trainee improved her record to 2 wins, 1 second, and 1 third in 4 starts, earning $98,306 for owner Glencrest Farm.

Right: Third place finisher Tu Endie Wei in the paddock before the race. The 11-1 fourth choice stalked the pace in third under new jockey Julien Leparoux, but could not improve late, finishing third beaten 3 lengths. The Reade Baker trainee improved her record to 4 wins, 1 second, and 1 third in 8 starts, earning $428,227 for owner-breeder Brereton Jones.

Fifth place finisher and beaten favorite Agave Kiss returns after the race. Jockey Ramon Dominguez said, "We made the lead but got pressed a lot harder than I wanted, but turning for home she just seemed like she wasn't herself today. She was pretty energetic, even galloping out, but I'm sure the fractions weren't helpful at all." Trainer Rudy Rodriguez added, "It wasn't her day today."

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