StandardBRED breeders & owners association of New Jersey

Representing the drivers, trainers, caretakers, breeders and owners of New Jersey

64 Business Route 33

Manalapan, NJ 07726

Phone: 732-462-2357

Fax: 732-409-0741

Reminders:

2019 RACE DATES

MEADOWLANDS

October 11 - November 30

Fridays & Saturdays

Post Time - 7:15pm

December 5 - December 28

Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays

Post Time - 7:15pm

Freehold

August 30 - December 28

Fridays & Saturdays

Post Time - 12:30pm

BACK

MUSCLES YANKEE FROM AFTERTHOUGHT TO LEGEND
 
-- Bob Marks

November 27, 2019 -- Every stallion has his story and the recently retired Muscles Yankee has more than his share beginning with his acquisition as a yearling and culminating with a brilliant if almost legendary long term stallion career.

Whereas, he stood at Perretti Farms, until his transfer to Winbak of New York in 2014, the 25-year-old stallion was actually acquired as an afterthought at Harrisburg in 1996 despite having been sold as a yearling in Kentucky the month before?

So how can that be you ask that a horse was sold in Kentucky but acquired at Harrisburg?

As readers of my book Way Of Life are acutely aware, life at Perretti Farms was somewhat unconventional and while we eventually owned the whole horse, we merely bought in for 25% at Harrisburg following uproarious dinner with wine sessions with one of the colt’s purchasers, the inimitable Jim Wheeler who at one point thereafter was a guest of the State Of Florida and possibly even his home State of Ohio.

We never looked at Muscles Yankee in Kentucky and of course had no way of seeing him at Harrisburg as he may have been at Chuck Sylvester’s barn by then but the two verbose dinner comrades worked it out and we owned 25%.

Pat Waldo, a noted yearling connoisseur mentioned he loved the colt but I initially was not that enamored with his pedigree. After all, he was the seventh foal of Maiden Yankee and none of her other foals had done that much. Years later, I realized what Waldo saw in the field and projected his stallion career accordingly

Interestingly enough we were not listed as owners during his 2-year-old season as that came later when in a brilliant business move Bill Perretti relieved Mr. Wheeler of his 25% which he may or may not have actually paid for. Mr. Wheeler is a story in himself as noted in Murray Brown’s book Book Full And Closed.

I saw Muscles Yankee qualify at The Meadowlands and in typical Sylvester fashion, he was raced conservatively though he showed a very nice gait and certainly looked like a promising prospect.

On Labor Day, in 1997, I interrupted Bill Perretti’s Labor Day cookout announcing I had good news and bad news. When he stopped yelling, he asked for the bad news first which was that Mr. Sylvester had neglected to tell us the colt was racing in Canada. The good news was that Muscles Yankee had set a season’s record winning the Champlain Stake and suddenly we owned 25% of what could be a valuable stakes colt.

Later that autumn now fully aware we had a colt with Hambletonian aspirations, Perretti Farms relieved Mr. Wheeler of his obligations towards Muscles Yankee. We now owned 50% along with Herb Liverman and David French. It was then decided he would stand at Perretti Farms at the conclusion of his racing career.

In all, Muscles Yankee won 15 of 21 starts including the Hambletonian and Breeders Crown and embarked on his stallion career alongside our other trotting stallion Malabar Man.

Interestingly enough once into the Breeding Season we soon discovered Muscles was not overly fond of the other stallions in residence particularly the gentlemanly Malabar Man. Thus we moved him out of the stallion area into a stall in the west side of the yearling barn. During yearling season we always kept the pacing colts in that barn but Muscles was totally oblivious to the young whippersnappers and paid them no mind. I would always assign larger colts to be housed in the stalls adjacent to Muscles so they wouldn’t be visually dwarfed by the comparison to a fully mature stallion. Muscles Yankee was always great around people and would stand passively while our hordes of overseas visitors would come to admire him at the farm each Hambletonian week.

Muscle’s Yankee’s initial stallion year started off rather inconspicuously when Mr. Muscleman sold for something like $2,000 at Tattersalls in 2001. That’s the same Mr. Muscleman that became his richest performer with earnings of $3,582,823 and was the culprit Ronnie Pierce inadvertently over whipped in the Elitlopp in Sovalla.

Somewhere along the line, I saw this picture of Speedy Crown winning at Duquoin and marveled at how closely Muscles resembled him when both were in motion. This might have been similar to what Pat Waldo saw when he watched him in the field as a yearling and why he sold for $200,000 despite his at that point unimpressive maternal pedigree.

Thus those pictures became the prevailing promotional theme for Muscles Yankee as the headline read “It’s not uncommon for the mantle to pass from grandsire to grandson” rather than sire to son.

Regardless of the promotional verbiage, Muscles Yankee retires at age 25 as one of the greatest trotting sires of all time and is credited with three consecutive Hambletonian champions in Deweycheatumnhowe, Muscle Massive and his all time great son Muscle Hill. The latter of course is considered one of if not the greatest trotting colt in history and at this point is virtually rewriting the stallion history books as well.

Enjoy your retirement Mr. Afterthought. You are indeed a legend!

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