Trainer Thrives After Heart Transplant

AP Photo

Well before Mucho Macho Man finished a hard-charging third in the Kentucky Derby, his human handlers were preparing themselves for any result. Strong, regular doses of perspective had braced them.

Yes, there was so much excitement and so many dreams invested in this long-legged stallion. This was the first Derby for all of them — and no one could swear that any of them would be back this way again.

But they had one cushioning advantage: The example of Mucho Macho Man’s trainer, Kathy Ritvo.

Less than three years ago, Ritvo was near death, her heart giving in to degenerative cardiomyopathy. Through a medicated fog, she watched Big Brown win the 2008 Derby from a hospital room in Miami.

Being on the grounds Saturday — alive because of a heart transplant she received in November 2008 — and sending a good horse to the post was a...

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