Seattle Times

October 25, 1999

Horse Racing — Owner Would Turn Down $1 Million For Mula Gula


By Dick Rockne, The Seattle Times, October 25, 1999

Seattle Times Staff Reporter


How much moolah is Mula Gula worth?

About all that can be said for sure is that the price is going up.

Steven Gula, the Mercer Island businessman who owns the 3-year-old Thoroughbred, said last week that he rejected an offer of $600,000 for the Lil E. Tee offspring. He said he anticipated higher offers if Mula Gula ran well in Saturday’s Oak Tree Derby on the Santa Anita turf course.

Well, Mula Gula won the Oak Tree Derby and the owner said last night that he had an informal offer of $1 million for the horse he purchased as a yearling for $6,000.

But, even if the informal offer becomes formal, Gula said he has decided to reject it for two reasons.

First, Gula said, he was told by veteran jockey Gary Stevens, who rode Mula Gula to victory in the 1 1/8-mile Oak Tree Derby, that he shouldn’t accept anything less than $2.5 million. The other reason has to do with intuition.

“I really have gone against the grain,” Gula said. “Nobody turns down $600,000 for a horse. It’s a gamble – horse racing is gamble. I’m just flowing with my intuition.”

The plan now is for Mula Gula, who has more than $400,000 in earnings, to race one more time this year, in the $500,000 Hollywood Derby (Grade I) at Hollywood Park Nov. 28, and then be rested until next spring. The winner’s share of the Hollywood Derby purse is $300,000.

“If he wins the Hollywood Derby (1 1/8 miles, on turf) I wouldn’t take less than $2 million,” Gula said.

Mula Gula’s rise in stature coincides with his introduction to turf courses, where he has won three of four races on behalf of Gula and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Stevens is impressed.

“He came home really powerfully and should improve with age because he’s still green and looking around,” Stevens said after winning Saturday. “He’s so good and does things so easily that he just loses focus.”

Mula Gula beat eight rivals, including Eagleton, who finished second, 1 1/4 lengths behind.

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