Photo Credit: Amira Chichakly
Mucho Gusto was originally a musical piece that was created by Percy Faith when he created his 1961 album called Mucho Gusto. The song itself much like the album centers around Mexican music. Then of course you also have what was once a seemingly promising colt trained by Bob Baffert who was named Mucho Gusto.
Mucho Gusto was blazing up the Kentucky Derby trail of 2019. Owned by Michael Lund Peterson out of Breeders Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man, out of a Itsagiantcauseway mare out of Giants Causeway. Breaking his maiden at first asking at Los Alamitos Race Course he quickly stamped his name as a top 2 you by then taking the Bob Hope Stakes G3 at Del Mar.
Mucho Gusto was entered in his 3rd start at Los Alamitos Race Course in the G1 Los Alamitos Futurity in which he faced the likes of a stablemate named Improbable. Mucho Gusto lost that race to Improbable settling for place however would prove he was for real when he came right back and took the Robert B. Lewis G3 at Santa Anita Park.
Seemingly in my opinion it looked like the colt maybe still had a lot of maturing to do and what my thought process was that Baffert sent him to the Sunland Derby as it may have been a softer spot for him to gain Kentucky Derby qualifying points. He would have not had to face off against his stablemate improbable and a likely easier test.
Mucho Gusto ended up getting 3rd in that race which didn’t look so great as the competition he faced I didn’t feel was the best. Bob Baffert being a great technician knew he had his hands on a good horse but wasn’t quite sure if he was mature enough for the rigors of the derby trail.
Mucho Gusto took about 2 months off and would return in the Laz Barrera G3 Stakes at 7 furlongs and he came right back with a win. Bob gave him one more test the following month in June and put him in the Affirmed G3 Stakes going longer at a mile and a sixteenth. Mucho Gusto showed his stuff in that stretch out and Bob seemingly had enough confidence in him to send him straight to the Haskell G1.
Haskell day as you may remember was under heavy heat warnings the entire day, the races themselves were suspended and restarted at the end of the evening so that it wasn’t so hot. There in the Haskell Mucho Gusto would run into a buzz saw by way of Maximum Security. The dethroned Kentucky Derby winner. Although Mucho Gusto lost and settled for 2nd place in that race it is my belief the race said so much more to me.
Maximum Security almost nearly dying of colic and having to be taken off his Travers hopes and Bob thinking, why not enter Mucho Gusto in the Travers. He doesn’t have to deal with Maximum Security and if he got 2nd to him he’s good enough to throw in to what looked to be a suspect 3 yo group. First things first, I don’t believe the 3 yo group this year is really al that weak. Mucho Gusto ended up getting 3rd in the Travers Stakes to a very good Code Of Honor. Maximum Security came back from having colic and near death and took on older horses and whipped them.
This is where I think Mucho Gusto if allowed to be kept racing could really turn into a really nice older horse. Seemingly needed to mature in my opinion and can hang with the likes of Code Of Honor and 2nd to Jason Servis’ speed-ball Max. Although Baffert sent him right to the Oklahoma G3 Derby right after and he ended up getting beat for 4th place, I’m thinking he needed a rest.
Mucho Gusto ran with some really good horses for a 10 race campaign winning 50% of them and that’s not entirely bad. Hopefully Mucho Gusto gets a well deserved rest and comes back really healthy in a 4 yo season, we may just see a different beast altogether. If anyone can get him racing back to peak performance it’s definitely Bob Baffert. As for now we will await the next return of Mucho Gusto to see what’s in store.