All American: Over the Moon

A sophomore trainer will saddle his first All American starter on Sunday.

Quarter Racing Journal

Machismo Moon and his team. PHOTO: Richard Chamberlain

Seth Ferguson has a buddy in the $1.3 million All American Derby (G1).

His name is Machismo Moon. He’s a brown gelding by the deceased Heza Fast Man stallion Heza Motor Scooter, who has sired the earners of more than $3.6 million, including champions Rylees Boy and All About Larry.

“Machismo Moon is homebred, home-raised, home-groomed, home-trained and home-everything,” says the 28-year-old horseman who took out his training license in 2016. “I’ve been with ‘Macho’ ever since he was born.”

Machismo Moon was bred by Ferguson’s mother, Norma Alvarez, and her husband, Dosi, who on their place at Anthony, New Mexico, have produced top New Mexico-breds that have earned more than $5.1 million. Those horses are led by champion and top sire First Moonflash, champion Foxy Moonflash, and Restricted Grade 1 winners Gonna Cha Cha and Famous Phoebe. They also co-owned 2013 All American Futurity (G1) winner Handsome Jack Flash. Machismo Moon races in the name of Ramon and Joe Alvarez and Ysabel Medrano, also of Anthony.

Machismo Moon is one of two winners from four starters out of the unraced Dash Ta Fame mare Machi Moon, and is a half-brother to the stakes-winning Jess A Chicks mare Chickaloni ($271,260). Machi Moon also has a yearling named Pepaloni, a full sister to Chickaloni. Machi Moon’s dam is the Major Rime mare Nagano Moon, who was a maiden in six races but has produced 13 starters, all of which are winners that together have earned more than $2.2 million. Machi Moon is a full sister to stakes winners Dash Ta Moon and Full Moon Dasher, and is a half-sister to stakes winners First Moonflash by champion First To Flash, Moonifisant by Sixes Royal and Mesa Moonlight by champion FDD Dynasty.

“I’ve been around horses and the racetrack all my life,” said Ferguson, who lives in Launion, New Mexico, a small farming community near Anthony. “I’ve had a lot of people help me over the years, and I owe thanks to all of them. I especially want to thank Mike Joiner. When my parents had Handsome Jack Flash, I was grooming for Mike at the time, trying to get some experience so I could train horses. I learned a ton of stuff from Mike. He’s a horseman. He taught me things that I didn’t even know I was learning. I want to thank Mike for all he showed me about horses, training and everything.”

It appears that Ferguson has learned his lessons well. He has conditioned Machismo Moon to earn $101,386 and compile a record of 10-3-3 (1)-0. As a 2-year-old, the gelding won two of six races, ran second to Hot Indy Chick in the Zia Futurity (RG1) at Ruidoso and ran in the $224,558 La Fiesta Futurity at The Downs at Albuquerque. Machismo Moon has won once in four races this season, when he won his second start by a nose, that in allowance company on June 19 at Ruidoso. In his next race, which was his final out before the trials to the All American Derby, he ran fourth in the July 30 Zia Handicap (RG2).

In the Derby trials on August 20, Macho finished second behind Myst Fit. In the saddle was Mauro Salcedo, a 21-year-old rider also in his second year to be licensed on the track. Salcedo has already ridden the earners of more than $1.4 million in the past two years, including Restricted Grade 2 winners Moneys A Maker and Magnifico Dragon.

“ ‘Macho’s’ like a train – he’s really tough,” Salcedo said. “He is strong and he always wants to go. In the morning, if something passes him on the track, I really have to pull hard to keep him from running off.

“In the post parade in the Derby trials, he was calm all the way to the gate, just perfect,” Salcedo continued. “He broke good, a little slow, but he started running and by maybe 200 yards I was catching them.”

The Newman Cattle Co.’s Myst Fit was the sixth-fastest qualifier at :21.561, while Machismo Moon clocked in seventh-fastest at :21.624.

Ferguson is well pleased, of course, but he’s not really surprised.

“When Macho was still on his mama, he was really neat,” he recalled. “He was real intrigued by people. He’d come up to you, he was real friendly and always eager to see you, just had a great personality.

“We turned him out in a pasture with other weanlings and a grandmother mare to be with them,” he continued. “Macho was always in the back – the alpha horses were always competing and he wasn’t an alpha. He’s a really big, long, tall colt, and was huge as a yearling. You’d think he’d be an alpha, but he just didn’t want to interfere with any of them. That’s how I saw him in the pasture.”

As the year went on, Ferguson watched Machismo Moon develop potential. As sale time approached that summer, Ferguson’s mother gave him his choice between Machismo Moon and another yearling, A Tres. By Tres Seis, the colt was out of Dash Ta Moon, a full sister to Machismo Moon’s dam. Ferguson picked Macho, and the Alvarezes sold A Tres at the Ruidoso Select Sale.

“Ever since he was a baby, Macho was eager to learn and eager to please me,” Ferguson said. “It was really neat watching him want to do the things I asked him to do, and he did them all really so easy. I liked how smart he was and how fast he could learn something. In the summer, when we were prepping them, I’d put Macho in the arena and I’d go in with a flag on a stick. I’d shake the flag and say, ‘OK, Macho, let’s work.’ He’d work for as long as I asked him. When I’d put it down, he’d stop and look at me. And when I’d gesture for him to come to me, he’d trot up to me.

“So the bond we developed was unique, and that made my choice really easy,” Ferguson concluded. “I loved his stride, I loved his movement, I loved his personality, I loved his work ethic. It all fit my style very well and I guess I fit his.”

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