Glass Pack returns to his roots
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"He's out in the field right now where he ran around as a baby," said Duane Miller, his breeder and new owner. "It seemed like he realized right away where he was and that he was back; he's just running around out there happy as can be."
A son of Cole Muffler and 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Fox Valley Monika, Glass Pack entered this world on April 19, 2004 and is the second of 10 foals the daughter of Incredible Finale has produced. He is a half-brother to Architect (Artiscape, $189,976), Doubletrouble (Richess Hanover, $704,754), Our Dragon King (Dragon Again, $556,106) and Can't Touch This (Rockin Image, $422,864), as well as the sales topper at this year's Hoosier Classic Yearling Sale ($145,000) in Newport Party (Rockin Image).
Glass Pack, however, has set himself apart from his prolific siblings as the son of Cole Muffler is the only millionaire ($1.01 million) amongst his siblings, is the sole world champion and possesses the honor of equaling the swiftest mile ever paced in the history of the now defunct Maywood Park (1:50.2). He is also the horse that is responsible for placing his mother in the Hall of Fame.
"He has provided us with so many thrills," Miller said. "When he only needed a fifth place check to top $1 million, my son and I drove to Northfield to watch him, as my family and I had a sheet where we would put down all of his races. It was a cold winter night and there was nothing going on at the track, but he won instead of just getting a check. It was only (an overnight) race, but I cannot describe what it was like for us to be there in that winner's circle and now we have him back."
Purchased for $18,500 at the 2005 Illini Yearling Sale, Glass Pack commenced his career with seven consecutive triumphs and established his world record as a sophomore. The gelding faced the starter on 342 occasions with a record of 67-42-41 and competed at nearly every facility in the Midwest in addition to the East Coast.
His homecoming certainly provides the Millers, whose daughter Amy recovered from leukemia this year, with a storybook ending to 2017, as she was the one holding the shank on Newport Party in the Hoosier Classic sales ring.
What is ironic is how the Millers acquired Fox Valley Monika was not the stuff dreams are made of.
"I had to work and could not get to the Harrisburg Sale on Wednesday like I should have," Miller said. "So I sent my brother out there, who is a dairy farmer and knows nothing about horses, with a check for $25,000 and a book all marked with what I wanted him to buy. So he calls me and said, ‘I bought you a mare, but it's not one you had marked because all the ones you wanted were too expensive.' I thought to myself, ‘Oh no, what am I getting?' I was not looking for a Illinois-bred by Incredible Finale, but more like a Western Hanover or Artiscape mare.
"Then he called me and said he bought another mare so I thought, ‘Now I have two of them?' Artha Rae, the other mare he bought for $7,000, foaled Indiana Sire Stakes winner Pacific Sun Rae (Panspacificflight, $323,212) and Wilbur's Z Tam (Charley Barley, $258,259). Now when I go to Harrisburg, I always ask Dennis if he wants to come along. You can't ever imagine you would pay $20,000 for two broodmares through a guy that knows nothing about horses to have this happen and he reminds me of it all the time."
Despite being 19 years old Fox Valley Monika looks like a horse half her age and passed that genetic blessing along to Glass Pack, who Miller was also fortunate enough to purchase from a sale.
"Albert (Adams), the agent from Winterwood Farm, and I communicated when he I saw he (Glass Pack) was in the (recent) Blooded Horse Sale," Miller said. "He couldn't believe how good he looked for being 13 years old and with all those races. We weren't sure what he was going to go for because people still could have purchased him to race, but we got him and brought him home.
"There is not a mark on him, not one bit of swelling in his ankles and when we put him on the trailer he was ready to go. I actually talked to a guy about racing him again, because he seemed like he was still wanting to do that, but he told me there was no reason to. And my son wanted to race him just one more time so we could have a winner's circle ceremony to retire him, so people could make a fuss over him. But that's okay, we will just feed him hay and let him live out the rest of his days with us.
"I really cannot tell you how proud my whole family is to have him home, or of the kind of year we have had. My partner always said it was a dream to sell a yearling for $100,000 and my daughter was able to walk that horse in the ring when we thought she might not make it a year ago; now we have Glass Pack back, too. My family has been blessed and things really do come full circle." (Kim French/USTA)