A horse like Army Mule can test the patience of an owner and trainer, but the lightly raced colt surely made up for lost time in a huge way and in a rather prestigious spot.
The 4-year-old Pennsylvania-bred son of Friesan Fire lived up to every bit of the potential trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Vinnie Viola saw in him as he romped to a 6 1/4-length victory in the $400,000 Carter Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct Racetrack April 7. The decisive win in the seven-furlong test was just the third start of his career and his stakes debut.
“I think this horse can be special for the sport,” said Viola, who races under the banner of St. Elias Stable and also owns the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League.
Army Mule, an $825,000 purchase as a 2-year-old, surely looked “special” in the Carter, as he scooted through a hole along the rail on the turn under jockey Joe Bravo and overpowered 10 seasoned rivals to increase his combined winning margin to 22 1/4 lengths.
Army Mule won in 1:20.94 on a track labeled fast,…