Sonic Mule surprised his connections by rocketing to the lead leaving the gate in the $75,000 Buffalo Man and then sailed on to a 1 3/4-length victory over Talk Logistics in the third running of the 2-year-old stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.
Sonic Mule, a son of Distorted Humor, provided trainer Todd Pletcher with stakes win number three on the Juvenile Showcase card. In the race before, Pletcher won the $75,000 Pulpit with Tapwrit. He also won the first stakes of the day, the $75,000 House Party with Bode’s Dream. And Pletcher wasn’t done yet; he came back one race after the Buffalo Man to capture the $75,000 Smooth Air with Fact Finding.
John Velazquez rode Calumet Farm’s Sonic Mule to victory in the six-furlong Buffalo Man, which was contested over a sloppy and sealed track. The Hall of Fame rider said he was a bit surprised that Sonic Mule forged to the early lead.
“He broke good and we let him do it,” said Velazquez, who rode three of Pletcher’s four stakes winners on the card. “We thought he’d be third or fourth. There seemed like there was a lot of speed in the race. He broke well and was doing it easy enough on the lead and he kept running.”
Sonic Mule went off at 3-1 as the second choice in the eight-horse field. Recruiting Ready, the 3-5 favorite who was ridden by Joel Rosario, chased the winner from the second spot down the backstretch, but was unable to muster a rally strong enough to pass Sonic Mule as they entered the stretch. The favorite finished third, 2 3/4 lengths behind Talk Logistics, who used a strong closing kick to secure the runner-up position.
The winner returned $8.80 for a $2 win bet. Sonic Mule completed the distance in 1:10.57, after reeling off fractions of :22.13, 45.25, and :57.63.
The Buffalo Man was Sonic Mule’s first stakes win. Purchased as a yearling by Calumet Farm for $175,000 at Keeneland’s September Sale, Sonic Mule won two races from five starts prior to Saturday, a maiden and an allowance event. He also finished second in his turf debut at Gulfstream Park in October.
“He’s a horse with a pedigree that suggests maybe he would do just about anything,” Pletcher, the 13-time defending Championship Meet titlist, said. “He’s a horse that always seems like he is ready to go and we’ve picked out different opportunities for him. He was a bit unlucky not to win on the grass in that one race here, but I think he seems to be his best doing this.”
Pletcher said he would point Sonic Mule to the $100,000 Hutcheson (G3) Jan. 7. The Hutcheson is run at six furlongs.
“For now we’ll keep him short, and then we will let him stretch his way out if he wants to,” Pletcher said.
Party Boat sails to victory in the $75,000 Wait a While
Party Boat’s two career wins before Saturday came in races over firm grass courses, but she sure took to the sloppy track in the off-the-turf $75,000 Wait a While for 2-year-old fillies.
Ridden by Joel Rosario, the 5-2 Party Boat scored a neck decision over Bitacora, who held a half-length advantage over the third-place finisher, India Mantuana.
Trained by Graham Motion, the winner returned $7.20, and completed the mile distance in 1:40.06.
A daughter of Into Mischief, Party Boat is owned by Hope H. Jones.