05/26/2002 11:00PM

Old Frankfort gets Mula Gula


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Stallion Mula Gula, a multiple Grade 2 winner, is making an unusual career move. After standing his first two seasons at El Dorado Farms in Enumclaw, Wash., for a $1,000 fee, the 6-year-old horse is shipping east to Kentucky, reversing the path many stallions take.

Mula Gula's owner, Steven Gula, has sold the horse privately to Jim Plemmons's Old Frankfort Stud in Lexington in the hopes that the eastward move will help Mula Gula's stud career.

Old Frankfort Stud - which stands Mula Gula's sire, 1992 Kentucky Derby winner Lil E. Tee, for $10,000 - probably will stand Mula Gula for $5,000, Plemmons said.

The move returns Mula Gula, a son of the Ascot Knight mare Night Tan, to his birthplace. Plemmons bred and raised Mula Gula, selling him to Gula for $6,000 at the 1996 Fasig-Tipton November sale.

Mula Gula is expected to arrive at Old Frankfort by mid-June.

Gula approached Plemmons about moving Mula Gula earlier this year when it became apparent that Washington State's broodmare pool wasn't large enough to support the sire. In 2001, the state's 116 stallions covered an average book of 11 mares, much lower than Kentucky's average book of 47 mares per stallion.

Despite Kentucky's highly competitive stallion market and the fact Mula Gula has no horses at the racetrack as advertisement, Gula feels the move is worthwhile to give the stallion a deeper pool of potential mates.

"The breeding business in Washington has suffered of late because of the poor handle at Emerald Downs," Plemmons said, "and Steve felt the horse would have a better chance of making it in Kentucky, where the breeding business is on a larger scale."

Still, Plemmons acknowledges that marketing an out-of-state stallion with no runners will be a challenge.

"But he's a horse with real speed, and he showed he could run well on dirt or turf, and he's run with some of the best horses," Plemmons said. "And he has Graustark and Northern Dancer on the bottom of his pedigree, and for all those Kentucky mares that carry Mr. Prospector blood, that's a pretty good gene pool for him."