He 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.
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.
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.
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