By John Mucciolo
Michael Lund Petersen’s Mucho Gusto was sent to the front soon after the start of the $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes (G3) at Del Mar on Saturday. The talented juvenile faced pressure from a pair of rivals nearing the turn for home and throughout the stretch, but the 4-5 choice proved 1 ½ lengths best under Joe Talamo.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Mucho Gusto established splits of :22.36, :45.36 and 1:10.32, before stopping the teletimer in 1:23.51 over the fast main oval. Chestnut gave back $3.60, $3 and $2.10 while topping an $8.50 exacta ($1) and $21.70 trifecta ($1).
Peter Miller’s Savagery earned the place spot and was followed by Sunny Slope S. victor Sparky Ville, who was a head back in third as the 5-2 second choice.
Mucho Gusto ran his mark to a perfect two-for-two following his debut score at Los Alamitos on September 20. The April foal upped his lifetime earnings to $84,000 in the process.
Son of Mucho Macho Man is the first winner produced from the Giant’s Causeway mare Itsagiantcauseway, who is also responsible for an unnamed weanling colt by Jack Milton. His second dam, the Seeking the Gold mare Countervail, is half-sister to Canadian Champion Peaks and Valleys.
Mucho Gusto was bred in the Bluegrass State by Teneri Farm, Inc. and Bernardo Alvarez Calderon. The winner passed through the auction ring on four occasions. He was a $14,000 short yearling at the 2017 Keeneland January Sale, and later resold the same season for $95,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
As a juvenile earlier in the year, Mucho Gusto was a $55,000 RNA at OBS March before ultimately going to Petersen for a hefty $625,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale in May. Colt was consigned by Kirkwood Stables, agent.