A birthday and Christmas present for Stud Muffin: retirement at Akindale Farm

Stud Muffin stall AkindaleHe made his first start at the very end of two-year-old year–December 16, 2006–and it was not what you’d call an auspicious debut. Racing for his breeder, Majesty Stud, Stud Muffin finished seventh by 17 lengths in the 1 1/16 miles race over the inner dirt at Aqueduct.

It would take Stud Muffin another five races to finally get to the winner’s circle; it happened at Belmont on May 24, 2007. He’d win twice more that year, and in March of 2008, he was claimed for the first of nine times, by David Duggan for Louis Zito, who would own him in partnership at first with Gerry Reid and Donall Fingleton, and later with John Crean and James Romanelli. Out of that same March race, Maggi Moss would claim a horse named Buddha Calling.

As a four-year-old, the gray/roan New York-bred by Raffie’s Majesty out of Saratoga Princess won his biggest race, the Empire Classic, on a beautiful October afternoon at Belmont. His final start that year would come in the Grade 3 Stuyvesant, in which he finished second to Dry Martini, another gray gelding. Stud Muffin’s record that year was 11-3-2-3, and he earned $294,549.

2009 and 2010 were dry years for him, with just one win in 10 starts, and only two other finishes in the top three. February 2011 saw him get claimed for the second time, by David Jacobson for Bruce Golden. Golden lost him to Michael Dubb, but not for long; it took three claims, but Stud Muffin ended 2011 with Golden.

Stud Muffin claims

And it’s no wonder he was in such demand, as he had a remarkable year for a seven-year-old, winning seven times from 15 starts, with three seconds and two thirds. A lanky closer whose color and style evoked another favorite gelding, Evening Attire, he showed his gameness in two dead-heat wins in 2011: once at Saratoga on on July 31, and two months later at Belmont on September 25.

He was claimed three times in 2012, but his winning ways were behind him; winless in nine starts and earning only a little over $24,000, he was claimed for the last time on March 25, by Peter Chin, who sold him privately to owner/trainer Naipul Chatterpaul, for whom he made his last five starts.

It was clear back in May that Stud Muffin was done racing; he raced twice in four days, finishing last both times, and after six months off, he came back to race uncompetitively twice this month.

photo (16)This morning, Stud Muffin headed north from Belmont to Akindale Farm, where he’ll begin life as a retiree, joining another Evening Attire, Tacticianor, Hotstufanthensome, Callmetony, and Greeley’s Legacy among many others.  His path crossed briefly with Maggi Moss early in his career and more enduringly now, as she recently arranged to purchase Stud Muffin, using her own money and the contributions of some behind-the-scenes folks at TVG, Emily Shields of Simhorseracing.com, and an anonymous group of donors. Others who prefer to remain nameless stayed in regular touch with Stud Muffin’s connections, and when they decided the time had come to retire the horse, they worked quietly to make sure the transaction took place. None of the people who contributed had anything to do with Stud Muffin during his racing career.

He arrived at Akindale around 8:30 a.m. and immediately made himself at home, greedily going for peppermints and nibbling at his hay. Early this afternoon, Akindale’s Erin Pfister texted me, “This handsome man has already learned to beg. He taps his foot against the door– love him!”

He retires with a lifetime record of 59-14-10-8 and earnings of $671,865. Unfortunately, none of that money will go to care for the horse who will turn nine on Tuesday and who we can hope has many active, happy years ahead of him. If you’re interesting in contributing to Stud Muffin’s support or in sponsoring him, please visit Akindale’s website, where you can make a one-time donation in any amount or a regular, fixed monthly contribution. At Akindale, Stud Muffin has a home for life.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a national community to retire a much-loved racehorse, and that community came together to offer Stud Muffin a new home. It’s been a year since he got his picture taken after a race, but there’s no denying that he’s a winner.

photo (15)

You can sign up for Akindale’s newsletter for news on all the retirees and for success stories about the horses Akindale has retrained for second careers. You can also like Akindale on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

 

10 thoughts on “A birthday and Christmas present for Stud Muffin: retirement at Akindale Farm

  1. I have been worried about this boy for sometime along
    with many other fans. I am still paying for a rescue but
    I will contribute something. God bless Maggie Moss and
    others for giving this warrior a new home free from
    doing something he did not enjoy anymore. Why
    is always the same ones who help these horses? Breeders,
    owners where are you?

  2. Teresa, once again another gem – and such a great happy ending for this gorgeous, talented boy… a winner indeed, thanks to that community you spoke about coming together to make that possible. Thanks for sharing his story!

  3. Teresa, I am often awed by all that you do for horses (and folks on the backstretch), and I am beyond thrilled that Stud Muffin is getting the “soft landing” he so richly deserves. But I am also beyond weary, and increasingly angry, that it so often “takes a village” — so much hard work by so many — just to ensure a bit of safety for one horse, whether a former star or a claimer at risk. People and institutions in the biz simply are not doing enough.

  4. Talk about tears of joy! I agree completely with Anne’s comments above. I hope there is some way Maggi Moss comes to realize how many people admire what she has done. I also hope Stud Muffin’s fans send along a donation to Akindale. Finally, Teresa is my hero, because she cares enough to make these happy endings happen. Happy New Year to all!

  5. Thank you so much for your hard work in finding a proper home for Stud Muffin, as a former owner who had the good fortune to walk him into the winners circle after his determined win in the Empire Classic, I am truly proud of your efforts. As you know through our conversations I was bitterly opposed to Mr Chaterpaul profiting from your quest, for that reason I refused to be part of this, however now that Akindale will be his home I will be visiting and will make a donation to these fine folks.
    Good job.

  6. Louis, I know how much Stud Muffin meant to you, and one of my favorite racing memories is running into Mr. Crean’s mother-in-law on the way to the winner’s circle the day of the Empire Classic — her excitement was so fun to see.

    As we all know, these situations can get complicated, and the good news is that the industry as a whole is taking steps to deal with Thoroughbred aftercare, and the more that we can all work together as partners and allies, the better off horses will be. Certainly the system isn’t perfect, and we’ve got a long way to go, but I know, Louis, that Akindale will be thrilled to receive your donation and to welcome you as a visitor…as will your old buddy. :)

    Happy new year, everyone.

  7. Teresa, thank you for this great story! Here are some folks trying to make a difference. I had a rough day at work and this story just made my evening. Stud Muffin, a winner in my book! What a blessing and a privilege to be around such a fine horse and athlete .

  8. I have always admired this gorgeous horse since first hearing his name 4 years ago. I am so glad that he is now safe. connections such as his last should not be allowed to profit from a horse who is in the waning stage of his career- that is simply despicable- and it is wonderful to know that people have reached out to give him an after-track life.

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