Real Macho Upsets Catalytic in Carry Back
Sunday, July 7, 2024

     HALLANDALE BEACH - Trainer Rohan Crichton, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Daniel Walters and Dennis Smith’s Real Macho captured his first stakes victory in Friday’s $95,000 Carry Back at Gulfstream Park by holding off a late rally by heavily favored Catalytic, who was making his first start in the seven-furlong stakes for 3-year-olds since running in the Kentucky Derby.

    Real Macho ($18.20), who won by a head, was re-equipped with blinkers for his first start since finishing fourth in the May 8 Sir Barton under Flavien Prat at Pimlico.

    “When he ran on Preakness Day, Flavien said he was just gazing. We had the blinkers on him before and he won. Then we took them off and he won, but he was getting distracted, so we put them back on,” Crichton said. “We were going to ship him out of town, but with the heat and the travel arrangements got so convoluted we decided to stay here.”

    Real Macho kept his mind on business in the Carry Back. After settling off a pace contested by Etendre, Saybrook and El Principito for the first half-mile in :45.52 seconds, the son of Mucho Macho Man was sent after the leaders by Emisael Jaramillo on the far turn. Real Macho made a three-wide sweep to the lead heading into the stretch and held on gamely to edge Catalytic, who raced far back in traffic before finding room and his stride under Drayden Van Dyke to close steadily through the stretch. Macho, who finished fourth in the Gr. II Fountain of Youth and off the board in the Gr. I Curlin Florida Derby during the Championship Meet, ran seven furlongs in 1:23.37 to collect his third win in eight career starts.

    “We’re not sure where we’ll go next. Maybe we’ll stay one turn, a mile or something like,” Crichton said.

    Catalytic, who earned his way in the Kentucky Derby with a distant second-place finish behind Fierceness in the Florida Derby, finished 4 ¾ lengths ahead of third-place finisher Roar Read.

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