Machowsky confident about Caracortado taking to dirt

Trainer Mike Machowsky doesn’t believe his unbeaten Kentucky Derby hopeful Caracortado will have any problem transferring his synthetic-track form over to dirt when the time comes.

The gelded son of Cat Dreams won his debut over Fairplex Park’s dirt surface in a $40,000 maiden claimer on Sept. 24 before rolling off four consecutive victories on synthetics.

Machowsky was honest when asked why he started Caracortado at Fairplex Park.

“Because I knew I could get a good price on him,” he chuckled.

Now the gelding’s connections are laughing all the way to the bank. They appear to have a viable Derby candidate on their hands. He is scheduled to race next in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita on March 13 against Lookin At Lucky. Both Derby contenders would then come back in three weeks to run in the Santa Anita Derby on April 3 before a trip to Louisville for the big one.

Much like Bob Baffert with Pioneerof the Nile last spring, Machowsky is not nervous about how Caracortado will race over Churchill Downs’ tricky dirt surface. Some horses, like Mine That Bird, love it, while others, like Point Given in 2001, just don’t take to it.

“My philosophy is, if a horse handles synthetic, he’s probably going to handle the dirt,” Machowsky said. “(Caracortado’s) a really good moving horse and I think the synthetics are a tougher surface for some horses to handle. I’ve had some horses that I know don’t love it, but they win over it and I know they’re better on the dirt. I think that a horse that handles synthetic can about handle anything.”

Machowsky, who campaigned Southern Image during 2004 when the colt won the Sunshine Millions Classic, the Santa Anita Handicap and the Pimlico Special, also has another promising 3-year-old in his barn named Nextdoorneighbor, who is scheduled to race in the Sham Stakes next Saturday at Santa Anita.

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