April 30, 2017 - Belmont Park, Race 5, Msw, USD $75,000, 6 1/2F
Army Mule, R, 3, 2014 by Friesan Fire
1st Dam: Crafty Toast (SW, $219,128), by Crafty Prospector
2nd Dam: Give A Toast, by Storm Bird
3rd Dam: Salud, by Raise a Cup
Owner: St. Elias Stable
Breeder: Hope Hill Farm (PA)
Trainer: Todd A. Pletcher
Army Mule (Friesan Fire), the second-priciest purchase at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training sale and by far the most expensive horse by his sire to date at $825K, immediately began paying back his purchase price with a head-turning performance worthy of ‘TDN Rising Star’ status in a Belmont maiden special weight Sunday.
Coupled in the wagering at 3-2 with Robert Falcone, Jr. trainee Thaddeus (Mineshaft), the bay stacked up three deep as his entry mate showed the way narrowly through splits of :21.99 and :45.02. John Velazquez gave in to the powerful colt’s tugging around the quarter pole, and as soon as he set him loose it was all over–Army Mule galloped away and poured it on by 8 1/2 lengths in 1:16.79. Fellow firster Zap Zap Zap (Ghostzapper) took second from Thaddeus.
The winner, a May 29 foal, was originally acquired by Ocala-based horseman David Scanlon for $35,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall yearling, and breezed a co-bullet :10 flat at Timonium. He was signed for last year by Jimmy Crupi accompanied by Dennis O’Neill, and had originally been sent to O’Neill’s brother Doug’s barn out in California before resurfacing with Todd Pletcher down at Palm Beach Downs over the winter. For more, see Friesan Fire Colt Lights Up Fasig.
Army Mule is a half-brother to Platinum Steel (Eddington), SP, $171,013 and a yearling colt by Old Fashioned. His dam was most recently bred to Seville (Ger), and his next two dams were both graded stakes winners.
Friesan Fire swept the Fair Grounds leg of the Triple Crown trail before going off the 38-10 favorite in the 2009 GI Kentucky Derby. The Country Life Farm resident, whose oldest runners are four, was represented by another relatively expensive juvenile this past Wednesday when his daughter (hip 375) sold for $230,000 to Lane’s End Bloodstock on behalf of West Point Thoroughbreds and Team D at OBS April after a speedy breeze of her own (:9 4/5