Is Army Mule the most exciting horse in training?

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

April 12th, 2018

Perhaps lost during a trio of stellar Kentucky Derby prep races over the weekend was the standout performance of ARMY MULE. Todd Pletcher trainee ran his mark to an unblemished three-for-three with an overwhelming victory in the Carter H. (G1) on Saturday. Army Mule is sensational and I am as excited to watch his development as any other horse that I have witnessed in 2018.

A first-out maiden winner in April of 2017 at Belmont Park, the expensive son of Friesan Fire was shelved following his debut score and resurfaced at Gulfstream Park on the final day of January.

Sent postward at 1-5 odds in a five-horse field, Army Mule broke slowly and tracked a swift early tempo before putting his four foes to rest with an electric move into the stretch. The final margin was 7 ½ lengths as he zipped through six panels in 1:08 4/5. Keystone-State bred bay was not far off of the track mark of 1:08 established by champion Big Drama in 2011. And he did it in just his second career start!

Army Mule was the 2-1 second choice in Saturday’s Carter, though he ran like a 1-5 shot over an accomplished field. Four-year-old ridgling tracked patiently behind runners to the top of the lane, and spurted along the inside turning for stretch run under Joe Bravo.

In the matter of a few jumps, Army Mule was clear showing exquisite acceleration. The clock stopped for seven furlongs in a wicked 1:20 4/5, the swiftest Carter run since Forest Danger came home in 1:20 2/5 in 2005. "He's something really special”, Pletcher said following the win.

$825,000 purchase has registered robust BRIS Speed figures of 100, 105 and 112 to date. And he has room for improvement with just three races under his belt.

The sprint division is very healthy right now featuring Golden Shaheen (UAE-G1) repeater Mind Your Biscuits, champion and BC Sprint (G1) star Roy H, BC Sprint second-place finisher Imperial Hint, Golden Shaheen runner-up X Y Jet et al. But I say they will all be looking up at Army Mule before long.