SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Aron Wellman said he likes what he’s seen from Haul thus far as he looks to continue to live up to his connections’ expectations in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Herb Moelis Saratoga Special for juveniles going 6 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga Race Course.
Owned by Eclipse in partnership with Vinnie Viola’s St. Elias Stable, Haul was an impressive three-length winner of his debut going 5 1/2 furlongs on July 9 at Belmont Park. The son of second crop sire Army Mule earned a 68 Beyer Speed Figure for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher.
“He’s been a colt that from the moment he arrived in Todd’s barn, he was as professional as can be. He was impressive in his training and lived up to it in his debut,” Wellman said. “Very straightforward, broke well on the outside, sat right off the speed, engaged turning for home and powered away in the stretch. You never take anything for granted in any race, let alone with a first-time starter, but it was what we were hoping for based on the way he trained. I was very pleased with the way he delivered.”
Haul is out of the California-bred Western Fame mare Western Kitty and hails from the notable Cee’s Song bloodlines, which produced Hall of Famer Tiznow and multiple graded stakes winning multimillionaire Budroyale. His third dam Tizso produced Grade 1-winner and Champion producer Paynter.
Haul was a $260,000 acquisition at this year’s OBS April 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, where he completed his eighth-mile move in a sharp 9.4 seconds.
Wellman called the move “seemingly effortless” and noted the colt’s calm demeanor both on the track and while being shown to buyers.
“He’s a really athletic colt,” Wellman said. “Those types of breeze up shows can fool you sometimes, but this colt gave me the impression that he was rock solid. He was fast to the wire and galloped out with good energy and he was just a cool dude on the shank all week long at the barn. Army Mule is a horse who is remarkably talented and a gifted individual himself and we’re starting to see him make a statement as a stallion. That was certainly appealing to us. He’s also out of a mare that raced in California, who I was familiar with. He was really bulletproof on the track and at the barn. Once we got down to the nitty gritty and got our shortlist tidied up, he was right there at the top of the class.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr. guided the horse to victory in his career debut and returns to the irons from post 4.