Back in the Saddle
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

Happy belated New Year! On the occasion of 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man returning to the track we thought we’d say an overdue hello and point out a few things.

You may remember that we kicked off our now annual “What’s Next” series that follows Breeders’ Cup starters throughout the rest of the year (2011, 2012, 2013) with Mucho Macho Man’s first start, or run back, after the 2011 Breeders’ Cup. In fact we owe the idea for the series to the Macho one!

As he’s done for the past two years, the Horse of the Year candidate is slated to start in the Sunshine Classic this Saturday at Gulfstream Park. You can learn more about the history of that race, and the entire series, in our Ten Things You Should Know about the Sunshine Millions.

Not surprisingly Mucho Macho Man is the overwhelming morning line favorite, and for good reason. Not only is he a previous winner of the race, if you followed along with our “What’s Next for the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Stars” post you’ll know that two out of three Classic starters won their next race (and the other once came in 2nd!). We took a closer look at how 2013 Breeders’ Cup starters at our sister site, Raceday 360. With several Breeders’ Cup starters running back this weekend you may want to check it out!

One such runner is Smarty’s Echo, a Lecomte Stakes starter who made his last appearance in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile. Juvenile starters haven’t done terribly well in their post-BC starts to date but that can always change. Grab the free past performance for the Lecomte and play along. The Lecomte is a 2014 Kentucky Derby points race, you can see the full schedule here, we also have one for the Kentucky Oaks.

And speaking of the Kentucky Derby, we would be remiss if we didn’t remind you that our Derby Prep Alert will be back for its fifth year starting on Friday February 21 with the first Derby and Oaks championship series races! We’ve made a few changes to the Derby Prep Alert and we’re excited to kick off another great year. If you haven’t already, you can sign up here.

Mucho Macho Man could potentially win a race on the same day he wins an Eclipse award or awards as the winners will be announced on Saturday! You can watch the ceremony starting at 7:30 pm 8pm ET on HRTV (and possibly streaming somewhere on the internet, we’ll let you know if that’s the case). If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our 2013 Eclipse Awards page where you can grab Lifetime Past Performances for all the finalists as well as charts from their key races. We’ll also keep the page updated during the ceremony to note winners.

Update: You will be able to watch the Eclipse Awards online at starting at 8pm ET!

Best of luck to Mucho Macho Man on his 2014 return to the races! If you like his chances we suggest checking out our post on Playing Favorites

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