Mueller, who in 1977 co-founded Comair with his father, Raymond, is the operator of Mueller Farms, which bred the Distorted Humor colt that sold for $875,000 to B. Wayne Hughes during the first night of action in the annual two-session sale in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
“It’s a real thrill to see a horse win a race, but it’s also a thrill to see a horse you bred sell well,” said Mueller, who broke into the game by racing horses such as grade III-winner Glitterman, but has switched his industry interest to commercial breeding.
Mueller said the colt out of his Corporate Report mare Queen of Money was worth the money.
“He is a nice horse, very well balanced,” he said. “And he’s out of a great mare. And it didn’t hurt that a Distorted Humor (Any Given Saturday) won the (grade I Haskell Invitational) over the weekend.”
Trainer Richard Mandella, who bid on behalf of Hughes, said the colt was a keeper.
“I don’t know how many I looked at over the weekend, but there was a bunch of them. I thought he was one of the nicest ones,” he said.
The sale price was the second-highest realized for Mueller, who consigns his horses with John Stuart’s Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services. His top seller was a Dixieland Band colt eventually named Celestial Sphere, who sold for $950,000 to John Ferguson at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Queen of Money, who was purchased for $125,000 at the 2004 Keeneland November mixed sale, is one of 24 broodmares located on Mueller Farms in Verona, Ky. The 13-year-old mare, who counted the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. III) among her three wins, has produced stakes winners Quiet Cash and Pocketfullofpesos among six foals of racing age.
Mueller’s 400-acre farm is located within easy driving distance of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, which was the major hub for Comair. Mueller eventually helped convert Comair to a publicly-traded company and was chairman and CEO of the regional airline when it was sold to Delta for a reported $1.8 billion in 2000.
Although primarily a commercial breeder, Mueller has one horse he is considering racing. Porterman, who is from the last crop by Glitterman, is a 2-year-old colt out of the Sham mare Miss Aciss.
“It’s kind of for old time’s sake,” Mueller said.