Army Mule's scintillating return to competition in near track-record time at Gulfstream Park Jan. 31 couldn't have come at a better time for Mike Recio and South Point Sales, which is offering the colt's half sister at the Fasig-Tipton winter mixed sale next week.
Returning from a nine-month layoff that followed an impressive victory in his career debut for St. Elias Stable and trainer Todd Pletcher, the 4-year-old son of Friesan Fire won the $51,000 optional claiming allowance by 7 1/2 lengths in 1:08.87 for six furlongs over a fast track, not far from the track record of 1:08.12 set by Big Drama in 2011.
"He's a special talent," Pletcher said following Wednesday's victory. "He broke a little slow, (being) a little rusty first time off the layoff, but recovered quickly and put himself in a beautiful spot and won impressively in a fast time and seemed to be doing it well in hand."
Purchased by Crupi's New Castle for $825,000 at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale, Army Mule made his first start last April, romping to an 8 1/2-length triumph over older horses going 6 1/2 furlongs at Belmont Park.
South Point's Recio was impressed by Army Mule when he went through the sale ring as a juvenile and went in search of any of the colt's relatives, resulting in the private acquisition of She's Overwelming, Army Mule's half sister by Albert the Great who earned $64,129 during five seasons.
In foal to Overanalyze , the WinStar stallion who was the leading first-crop sire of 2017, She's Overwelming is consigned by South Point as Hip 429 during the Feb. 6 second session at Fasig-Tipton. Produced from the stakes-winning Crafty Prospector mare Crafty Toast, Pennsylvania-bred She's Overwelming is a half sister to two stakes-placed runners.
"(Army Mule) has always had a lot of hype behind him and that is the reason I acquired her," Recio said. "I thought Army Mule was an exceptional 2-year-old when I saw him at the sale in Maryland. I like to track mares and half sisters throughout the year of the horses I like when I go to these 2-year-old sales. I knew Army Mule was doing very well, but he went on the shelf not long after I bought her. But she's a beautiful mare, very attractive, so I wasn't worried that I wouldn't get out (financially) eventually."
Recio said he bred She's Overwelming to Overanalyze because he had a season to the Arkansas Derby (G1) winner. The horseman's interest in Overanalyze was based in large part on the success of the stallion's sire Dixie Union.
"I'm a big Dixie Union fan," Recio said. "I used to help Diamond A Racing (which raced Dixie Union in partnership with Herman Sarkowsky) when I worked at Taylor Made ... I got to be around a lot of Dixie Union foals and fell in love with his progeny. Now, (Dixie Union) has become such a good broodmare sire and hopefully sire of sires. Also, WinStar does the right thing with their stallions, and you know at all price points they're going support you in the sales ring and they're going to get the right amount of mare numbers to their studs. When they offered the breeding right program it was a no-brainer and I had heard good things about how (Overanalyze's) 2-year-olds were training, so it all made sense."
Although She's Overwelming's catalog page does not reflect Army Mule's latest success, Recio said he is confident South Point's personnel and Fasig-Tipton will make potential buyers aware of it.