As you may have read in my post for Monday, I was in an “around a horse” accident that sent me to the ER. Here is a link if you’d like to read about it or look at the pictures.
To be honest, I felt OK on Monday and Tuesday, but today – Wednesday – I feel like crap. I cannot stay awake and I feel like a truck ran me over.
So, I am reposting a post from long ago. I’m hoping that many of you didn’t see this one since it was from the very beginning of HORSE AND MAN.
Thank you for your patience and understanding. Hopefully I will be back in the game tomorrow!
OK, so back to Black Ruby!
Black Ruby is the winningest mule, ever.
She is an awesome sight in person and I got to meet her firsthand. This molly mule has won more races than any other mule (and most equines).
Mule racing is relatively new. In fact, the Mule Racing Association had to adapt the current racing laws to allow mules. And, so far, mules are only sanctioned to race at Fairs. So, that cuts down the tour. However, it doesn’t take away the excitement! This gal has been featured in Sports Illustrated, Equus, The NY Times, Blood horse as well as several TV appearances. She has won over $200,000 and her purse keeps expanding. So far, the only mule to beat her is Taz, but not often. (It was Taz who was the first Mule to be cloned — another story.) They have a standing rivalry which is presented in this video from a Match. Amazing. You need to watch it first then read on. Famous Match Mule Race
Ruby is owned by a lovely couple, Sonny and Mary McPherson from Healdsburg, CA (wine and now mule country…). They really had no idea this was going to be their next phase in life — it happened by accident. Sonny had a hunting/packing mule that he showed a friend. The friend asked to use Sonny’s mule to run along side his mule down at the racetrack… and a love was born! Soon after that fateful day, the McPhersons met Ruby. She was 3, injured and on stall rest. The trainer said she was the fastest mule he had ever seen before she was injured. A year later, after Ruby had finally healed but never raced, Sonny took a chance and bought her. The trainer was right. Really right! Black Ruby has won 62 of her 77 starts (most of her non-wins were due to her inability to load properly in the gates — a mule is a mule is a mule… ;) ).
Mules race shorter lengths than race horses. They run in yards, the 220. 300, 350, 400, 440, 660 and 870 which is a half mile. Ruby holds records in all events. Basically, mules don’t have the endurance of the race horses — yet. Mules tend to run a few seconds behind the horses’ records. Right now, most racing mules are created from a QH or an Appy mare (and of course, a talented Jack) to get the fast sprinter. If purchasing a racing mule, they look for a nice head, strong neck, long leg and a big hip.
I have to give great credit to the Mule Racing Association because they will not allow a mule to run until he/she is 3. It was decided that a mule just isn’t bone mature until then and they don’t want the mules to break down. Nice. But having a winning mule or a well built mule does not garner success for sure. A mule is a mule is a mule… ;)
When I visited the McPhersons, I watched their up and coming mules along with their older mules running in the fields and I was slack jawed! I had never seen anything like it! Of course, watching Ruby just casually romp at warp 2000 just took my breath away. I could not believe it! These are not your Grand Canyon Mules! Wow! Among the group was a Molly that crossed from a Secretariat mare. Amazing! That one will be a distance mule someday. But, of course, the casually dressed Ruby out ran them all – easily. She is sumthin’. Here is the short video of Ruby casually running her buncakes on her home turf.
Anyway, here is the edit I put together with this great footage of Sonny, Mary and the mules. Click here: Black Ruby interview video.
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
February Drop in the Bucket Fund: LEROY, THE WONDERPONY
He was found in a Home Depot parking lot with a huge leg wound. To learn all about the Bucket Fund and to donate towards the care of LeRoy, please click here.
Hi Mary, this is Sam.
We played cowgirls this morning.
My number is 7076573743.
Please call me at let me know everything is good
I saw a repeat of her race on TVG last night! What a sweetheart!! I adore her! I’d like to know how she’s doing??!!
Thanks for re-sharing Black Ruby’s story. After what you’ve been through since Sunday, you deserve a break – hope you feel better soon. You know that was no minor scrape and will take some time to get things back together. Feel better, and thanks for sharing. xox
Thanks for the great article!! What an awsome mule & the McPhearsons are top notch people!
I would like to know her pedigree.
I LOVE mule racing! I became a fan when I saw the blonde bombshell, Blinkie. And getting to know the story of Ms. Ruby was wonderful. I was watching when she retired last year. Brought a tear to my eye.
Thanks for the wonderful article. I very much enjoyed it. I’m happy the fair season has started. Mule racing. Yeahy!
We know the Grand Canyon mules well! We interviewed Wranglers with their mules! Look at post: http://www.horseandman.com/interviews/ron-clayton-and-the-mules-of-the-grand-canyon-rare-interview/
Thanks for the story about Ruby the racing mule. I watched the race and have to admit I didn’t like how much the jockey was whipping her. It seemed excessive.