Undefeated Grade 1 winner Army Mule, raced in the colors of St. Elias Stable, has been retired from racing and will stand stud duty at Hill 'n' Dale Farms in Lexington, Ky.
An $825,000 2-year-old in training purchase, Army Mule served notice of his exceptional brilliance at first asking, breaking his maiden in spectacular fashion at Belmont, where he demolished the field by 8 1/2 eye-popping lengths. The visually stunning performance earned him TDN Rising Star status.
Sent off at 20 cents on the dollar in his next start at Gulfstream, the Todd Pletcher trainee reaffirmed his talent with a 7 1/2 length romp in 1:08 and change, three ticks off the track record established by Eclipse champion sprinter Big Drama. His crowning achievement would come at Aqueduct in his stakes debut, in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap, where he drew off like an important horse, stopping the clock for seven panels in 1:20 and change, four ticks off the track record. The race established him as the leader of his division, and earned him a 114 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest up to a mile in 2018.
“From the moment I watched the video of his work at the Timonium sale, I was determined to have Army Mule in our stable. His performance on the track, culminating in a dominating win in the Carter Handicap with his 114 Beyer, confirmed our decision to bid aggressively for him. Army Mule retires as an undefeated Grade 1 winner. Our confidence in him was rewarded, and, with his racing performance and beautiful physical, we look forward to Army Mule going on to a great stud career at Hill 'n' Dale where we are excited to support him,” said leading owner Vinnie Viola.
Eclipse champion trainer Todd Pletcher said, “Army Mule was a special talent. He was a pleasure to train with a terrific disposition and gorgeous conformation. He had a high cruising speed that allowed him to win a Grade 1 sprint, but I also believe he could have carried it over a route of ground had he been given the opportunity.”
“Army Mule won his first three starts by more than 22 lengths. His facile win in the Carter in near track record time left no doubt he was a generational talent. When breeders see the horse in person they will be overwhelmed by his presence and understand why he was the talk of the Maryland 2 year old sale making $825.000. Undefeated, brilliant and beautiful, the same qualities we saw in Candy Ride and Maclean's Music, breeders will love him, ” said John G. Sikura, president of Hill 'n' Dale Farms.
The horse will stand for a fee of $10,000 live foal stands and nurses.
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