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Otello’s Late Charge Foils Rivals in Mucho Macho Man

After valuable points toward entry in the Kentucky Derby (G1), the next-best gift a newly turned 3-year-old Thoroughbred could receive is entry into a race that provides those points.

That’s what Otello  earned Jan.1 at Gulfstream Park when he edged out two rivals in deep stretch to win the $150,000 Mucho Macho Man Stakes. The race serves as a prep for the $250,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) Feb. 3 at the South Florida track.

In just his second time out, the son of Curlin   remained perfect, stopping the clock in 1:37.76. But it wasn’t without a little bit of trouble, as trainer Christophe Clement put it.

“He won first time out in New York, and he won well, got into a lot of trouble,” said Clement. “The same applied today, so I guess he likes to be in trouble. But he won well, and he got out of the trouble. He was good enough to overcome it. I’m not exactly sure what he beat today. I know that they liked the second horse. I’m thrilled. I don’t train too many Curlins, so it’s nice when it works out.”

Staying within striking distance of the leaders, Otello ran along the rail for the first half of the mile-long contest. Trying to squeeze through a narrow space just to the inside of Sea Streak  near the quarter pole, Luis Saez moved to the outside of Sea Streak to try to move to the front.

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But Sea Streak dueled with First World War  at the front, preventing Otello from moving forward from the two-wide position. Without that option, Saez took Otello even wider. Pulling clear of No More Time , who had been running stride for stride with him, Otello powered forward, joining Sea Streak and First World War on the outside to make it three for the wire with less than a 16th of a mile to go. 

In those final six strides, Otello got the half-length win. First World War finished second by a neck over Sea Streak. The winner paid $5.40. 

Otello was bred by Sienna Farm, which co-owns the colt with WinStar Farm. His sire, Curlin, stands for $250,000 at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms.

Video: Mucho Macho Man S. (BT)


Earlier in the card, Power Squeeze , a 3-year-old Union Rags   filly, rallied down the middle of the track to pull away from favored Queen’s Martini  for a five-length win in the Cash Run Stakes. It was Power Squeeze’s stakes debut. She crossed the wire in 1:37.19 with Irad Ortiz Jr. in her second consecutive start at a mile and her first race since Oct. 7 at Delaware Park.

Power Squeeze wins the 2024 Cash Run Stakes at Gulfstream Park
Photo: Coglianese Photos/Lauren King

Power Squeeze wins the 2024 Cash Run Stakes

“We’ve been trying to find races to stretch her out,” trainer Jorge Delgado said. “In her last race, it was the first time she had a chance to develop her stride like the run she had today.”

Queen’s Martini finished second, followed by Done Enough . Power Squeeze paid $18.80 for the win. 

Delgado said he’s aiming for the Feb. 3 $125,000 Forward Gal (G3) at Gulfstream. A good effort there could land her a start in the March 30 $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2). 

Video: Cash Run S. (BT)

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