Mucho Gusto Wins Battle of Bafferts in Affirmed

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Mucho Gusto | Benoit

Sunday, Santa Anita
AFFIRMED S.-GIII, $100,351, Santa Anita, 6-16, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:45.15, ft.
1–MUCHO GUSTO, 124, c, 3, by Mucho Macho Man
1st Dam: Itsagiantcauseway, by Giant’s Causeway
2nd Dam: Countervail, by Seeking the Gold
3rd Dam: Strike a Balance, by Green Dancer
‘TDN Rising Star’ ($14,000 Ylg ’17 KEEJAN; $95,000 Ylg ’17
KEESEP; $55,000 RNA 2yo ’18 OBSMAR; $625,000 2yo ’18
EASMAY). O-Michael Lund Petersen; B-Teneri Farm Inc. &
Bernardo Alvarez Calderon (KY); T-Bob Baffert; J-Joseph
Talamo. $60,000. Lifetime Record: 7-5-1-1, $430,800.
2–Roadster, 124, c, 3, Quality Road–Ghost Dancing, by Silver
Ghost. ‘TDN Rising Star’ ($525,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP).
O-Speedway Stable LLC; B-Stone Farm (KY); T-Bob Baffert.
$20,000.
3–Visitant, 122, c, 3, Ghostzapper–Peppermint Lounge, by
Distorted Humor. O/B-Williamson Racing, LLC (KY); T-John F.
Martin. $12,000.
Margins: 2 1/4, 1, 1. Odds: 1.90, 1.00, 5.00.
Also Ran: Manhattan Up, Kingly, Always Forgiven.

Michael Lund Petersen’s ‘TDN Rising Star’ Mucho Gusto stalked the pace comfortably and ran away in the stretch to lead a one-two finish for trainer Bob Baffert in the GIII Affirmed S. Sunday at Santa Anita, picking up his fourth graded stakes win in the process.

Two-for-two to start his career, including a tally in the GIII Bob Hope S., the $625,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic buy was second to stablemate Improbable (City Zip) in the GI Los Alamitos Futurity before powerfully annexing the GIII Robert B. Lewis S. here Feb. 2. Seeing his GI Kentucky Derby dreams go up in flames when a well-beaten third in the GIII Sunland Derby, he rebounded with a frontrunning success in the seven-furlong GIII Laz Barrera S. May 18 and was made the clear second choice behind barnmate and fellow ‘Rising Star’ Roadster stretching back out to two turns in this spot.

Away smoothly from his outside draw, the chestnut appeared to be heading out for the lead, but instead deferred and sat third while three wide behind a pokey first quarter of :24.14. Dropping back a spot passing a dawdling :48.92 half, he was nevertheless always traveling well and drew alongside the pacesetters on his own power just inside the three-furlong pole. Roadster, well off his stablemate, got going after six furlongs in 1:13.28, but Mucho Gusto scooted clear once given his cue by Joe Talamo in early stretch and slammed the door past the sixteenth pole en route to a convincing score. Roadster finished with interest to get up for second ahead of frontrunning Visitant.

Pedigree Notes:

Mucho Gusto’s second dam Countervail is a half-sister to Canadian champion and MGISW Peaks and Valleys (Mt. Livermore), as well as Alternate (Seattle Slew), the MSW/MGSP dam of MGSW and young sire Alternation (Distorted Humor). His thrice-winning dam is responsible for a yearling Jack Milton colt and foaled a filly by Alpha this term.

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