Michael Lund Petersen’s Mucho Gusto (Mucho Macho Man) may have passed on the Triple Crown races, but he proved this summer he can hang with the top 3-year-olds. Sunday night, he’ll be the class of the field and a substantial favorite in the GIII Oklahoma Derby at Remington.

Capturing the GIII Bob Hope S. and GIII Robert B. Lewis S. sandwiched around a runner-up try in the GI Los Alamitos Futurity, the chestnut was navigated off the Triple Crown trail after running a well-beaten third in the GIII Sunland Derby Mar. 24.  Two convincing scores in the May 18 GIII Laz Barrera S. and GIII Affirmed S. June 16 later, the ‘TDN Rising Star’ was back in with the big boys, and ran a brave second to Maximum Security (New Year’s Day) in the GI Haskell Invitational while finishing eight lengths clear of third. He was similarly game when holding on for third after dueling on a fast pace in the GI Runhappy Travers S. last out Aug. 24 at Saratoga.

Mucho Gusto’s two principal challengers come out of the Travers in fifth-running Owendale (Into Mischief) and seventh finisher Tax (Arch). The former, who annexed the Apr. 13 GIII Stonestreet Lexington S. and was third in the GI Preakness S., took the June 22 GIII Ohio Derby over last week’s GI Pennsylvania Derby hero Math Wizard (Algorithms) before his even Travers effort. Tax, who sports trophies for the GIII Withers S. and GII Jim Dandy S., was also fourth in the GI Belmont S.