Black Ruby Does It Again

In the Mule Heavyweight Championship, Black Ruby again proved she's queen of her breed.

Taz was on even terms with his rival Black Ruby for much of their 350-yard match race Saturday at Fairplex Park, but Black Ruby rallied in the final 50 yards to post a 1/2-length victory in the $10,000 winner-take-all match race, their second such contest in six days.

Black Ruby, the world's most famous racing mule, was timed in 20.42 seconds in winning for the ninth time this year. Her earnings are now $180,850 for owners Sonny and Mary McPherson. According to the mule racing association, Black Ruby's record now stands at 61 wins, nine seconds and three thirds from 73 starts.

Carrying 129 pounds and spotting Taz a five-pound break, Black Ruby broke outward while racing without blinkers for the first time in more than a year. The 10-year-old mare gradually straightened out, then bore down on Taz relentlessly.

Black Ruby paid $2.60.

Ridden by Jim Burns and trained by Ron White, Black Ruby swept the Southern California match race series over Taz, who she beat by two lengths Sept. 8 at Del Mar. Her only loss this year was to Taz on Aug. 24 at the State Fair's Open Mule Challenge at Cal Expo while carrying 136 pounds.