Mucho Gusto, winner of last year’s Pegasus World Cup (G1) and earner of nearly US$4 million, has been retired due to a soft tissue injury.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said the injury was discovered on Tuesday, 10 days after Mucho Gusto made a disappointing return to the races in the San Antonio Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park following a 10-month layoff.
“It’s one of those things where it was going to take a while for him to recover, so the decision was made to retire,” Baffert said. “It’s very disappointing. He’s been in the barn a long time and has always been a barn favourite.”
Stallion plans for 5-year-old Mucho Gusto have not been decided, Baffert added. Thoroughbred Daily News first reported the retirement.
Mucho Gusto — a graded stakes winner at 2, 3 and 4 — followed up last year’s win in the Pegasus with a fourth-place finish in the US$20 million Saudi Cup in Riyadh in February. Subsequently sent to the sidelines, Mucho Gusto resurfaced in the San Antonio on December 27 as a planned launching point for big-money races like the $3 million Pegasus later this month and/or next month’s Saudi Cup and the $12 million Dubai World Cup in March.
In the 1 1/16-miles San Antonio, Mucho Gusto stalked the pace in second before fading down the stretch and checking in fourth.
By Mucho Macho Man out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Itsagiantcauseway, Mucho Gusto was a US$625,000 auction purchase as a 2-year-old by Michael Lund Peterson. He won the Bob Hope (G3) at Del Mar as a juvenile and the following year added wins in the Robert B. Lewis (G3), Lazaro Barrera (G3) and Affirmed Stakes (G3). Also in 2019, Mucho Gusto ran second to Maximum Security in the Haskell (G1) and was third in the Travers (G1). He would subsequently be sold privately to Prince Faisal Bin Khaled prior to winning the Pegasus.
“That horse gave us a lot of thrills,” Baffert said.
Mucho Gusto retires with a record of 13: 6-2-2 and earnings of US$3,953,800.