He captured two $12,000 Illinois-bred contests prior to the defeat and has reeled off 11 straight victories over the rest of his 3-year-old campaign.
Not a bad year for a horse that made $9,542 with an 8-2-1-0 record in 2012.
“The owners were concerned because he had gotten a little rank last year, had some sickness issues and was bleeding a little bit,” said Mike Brink, the gelding’s conditioner. “I don’t think it was one issue in particular, but they opted to quit with him and turn him out because they thought he had potential.
“They called me around October and asked me if I would take him. All I really did was try to keep him calmed down. We jogged him slowly all winter with a hood on and kept him away from horses to try to keep him relaxed. We did that for a couple months and he just kind of calmed down on his own. I’d like to take all the credit for it and say I’ve done this and I’ve done that, but we really didn’t do anything. He did it all on his own.”
|Balmoral Park photo|
|King Mufasa has won 13 times in 14 season's starts, with earnings of $209,840.|
King Mufasa is the first foal out of the Muscles Yankee mare Foxy N Diamonds and is by Powerful Emotion. He was purchased for $12,000 at the Walker Standardbred Sale by Bill Wright and Mystical Marker Farms. The gelding was bred by Jerry Graham and Mystical Marker Farms.
As a 2-year-old, King Mufasa debuted with a second place finish, then followed it up by breaking his maiden. But after that, King Mufasa could only manage one more victory, in an Illinois State Fair elimination. He was sixth in the $54,000 Plesac, eighth in his American-National elimination, seventh in his Land of Lincoln elimination and fourth in the consolation.
This year, Brink qualified King Mufasa himself at Springfield where he trains on April 22 in 2:00.1. He was quite pleased with the effort and said from that time on the gelding has been absolutely perfect.
“Mike Oosting drives him and every time he comes back with him, he says he couldn’t be any better,” Brink said. “So all we did all summer was just try to manage him. We didn’t want anything to happen early with the money we were going for late. Whether it was a stellar group of 3-year-olds in Illinois or not is any one’s opinion, but he went in :53, :54 and won $200,000. It’s kind of a Cinderella story as far as the owners are concerned.”
During his sophomore campaign, King Mufasa has captured the $50,800 Cardinal Stake, the $37,100 Hanover Stake, the $51,000 Kadabra Stake, the $45,000 State Fair final, and the $124,000 Su Mac Lad final. He has a lifetime mark of 1:53.4 and $219,382 in the bank. He has captured 13 of his 14 miles this year, with one second place finish.
King Mufasa's next engagement will be in a $31,100 division of the Circle City at Hoosier Park on Saturday (Oct. 26). He will leave from post five in the seventh race and is the 3-1 morning line favorite.
“It will be the first time he has raced outside of Illinois,” Brink said. “I have no idea what to expect or what not to expect, but he has done everything we have asked of him. Depending on the competition, I expect him to race as well as he can. I’m actually excited to be taking him over there because I want to show him off and let other people see him. Since Mike can’t make it, I put Dave Palone down to drive. I haven’t talked to him at this point, but it sure would be fun to see Dave driving him.”
Brink feels King Mufasa’s outstanding year can be summed up rather simply.
“He is extremely good-gaited, one of the best I’ve ever seen, and doesn’t interfere with himself anywhere,” he said. “He’s also two fingers to drive and has great manners. Surprisingly, he’s not a very big horse, but Mike can do anything he wants with him. I can’t say a bad thing about him, because there is nothing bad about him. He takes care of himself off and on the track and I think we’ve spent maybe $500 on him all year for vet bills. Not only has he not really been beaten, he is low maintenance and that is hard to get in this business.”
After his engagement in the Hoosier State, King Mufasa will compete in the American-National and the Galt Trot before getting some time off. His owners had contemplated placing the horse in the fall Harrisburg Sale, but decided this one was a keeper.
“It’s a big transition year for 3-year-olds to 4-year-olds and he’s not a big, strapping colt,” Brink said. “When you are racing against 4- and 5 year-olds that is a big plus, but when you have the kind of heart this horse has, that tends to take over. Regardless of what he does, because of what he has already done, he will never be a disappointment.
“In his races this year he’s been parked or pulled to the front 70 percent of the time. Nothing’s been given to him. He’s a great horse and about the only way you could make him mad is if you walk by his stall and didn’t pet his head. He loves people and he loves attention.
“He should be undefeated, but I was using that race against older horses to prep him for an Illinois stake the next week, so I told Mike not to rough him up. All we did was put him in a position and he did the rest.
“The only thing I have to complain about is that I don’t own him.”