LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Trainer Kathy Ritvo’s colt Mucho Macho Man finished third at Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, equaling the second-best finish by a female trainer in the Derby.
“He was fabulous today,” said Ritvo, who nearly died from heart disease three years ago before receiving a lifesaving transplant. “It went just the way we thought it would. He gave it his all. He finished up well.”
Mucho Macho Man had Animal Kingdom in his sights in the middle of the final stretch, but didn’t have enough of a kick at the end to catch the winner.
“At every point in the race that I needed something from him, he gave it to me,” said jockey Rajiv Maragh, who replaced Eibar Coa as the horse’s rider after Coa was injured in a fall. “He was just third. He ran 110 percent.”
Co-owned by St. Louis area dentist Ray Nikodem, Mucho Macho Man captured the Risen Star Stakes in New Orleans in February and followed it up with a good showing at the Louisiana Derby, finishing third despite losing a shoe early in the race.
“He’s only going to get better,” Ritvo said. “He’s only a June 15 foal. He’ll come back hopefully in a couple weeks (in the Preakness).”
Ritvo struggled for years with a degenerative heart disease that killed her older brother 15 years ago. She underwent a 17-hour transplant in November 2008, and says she has felt better than she has her entire life.
The 42-year-old maintains her health by taking 30 pills a day and defies doctor’s orders by enthusiastically watching her horses run.
“It was really exciting,” she said of Saturday’s race. “I was jumping around and cheering him on.”
Copyright Associated Press