After multiple graded stakes racehorse Mr.Wolverine capped off his racing career by defeating Lava Man on the track he has eased into life as a family pet so cushy that his owners suspect he is really more dog than racehorse.
“If I were to open his stall door, he’d follow us all around,” says Lisa Pratt, owner of Mr. Wolverine since 2010. “He does tricks. He has learned to bow, and he gives kisses for peppermints.”
In between lavish shows of affection, and tricks, the plain bay has agreeably taught Pratt’s daughters Emma, 11 and Kaylee, 7 to ride in western tack, and recently made a few appearances as something of an ambassador for the breed.
Sire: Last Lion
Dam: April Mom
Foal date: March 8, 2002
Earnings: $342,520In July, he made an appearance at the Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show, sponsored by CARMA, and held at The Oaks in California.
He even met up with his old racetrack nemesis Lava Man at the show, competing against him in the War Horse walk/trot exhibition class—Lava Man won this one— and several joked the pair were together again for a “rematch.” Lava Man lost to Mr. Wolverine in 2008 at the Khaled Stakes at Hollywood Park.
Following his appearance at the California show, Pratt decided to hand some of his training over to Emily Conforti, a Thoroughbred trainer who has been helping him with the basics of walk, trot and canter.
So impressed has Conforti been that she has proclaimed her love for the goofy fella who enjoys sticking his tongue out for photos, and desire to purchase him from the Pratt family, says Lisa Pratt, who quickly says, “We’ll never sell him!”
The family devotion to the aging warrior has spilled over into Social Media, where they started a Fan Page for Mr. Wolverine, and through it, reconnected with the horse’s past connections.
Pratt struck up such a friendship with Mr. Wolverine’s former trainer Jorge Gutierrez that after years of back-and-forth chitchat on Facebook about the horse, Pratt surprised the trainer one day by trailering Mr. Wolverine to Santa Anita Race Track so she could show the old trainer how well the retired horse was doing.
“I think he was a little surprised that I did it. But I have a friend who trailers horses there all the time, and it’s only about an hour away from my house,” says Pratt, noting that Gutierrez regaled her with stories about Mr. Wolverine’s life on the track as her horse made himself incredibly comfortable in a hay-filled stall.
“He actually lied down in the straw and ate lying down,” Pratt says. “I thought he would have been really amped up being back on the track, but he was so cool. We offloaded him within sight of the grandstands, and when he saw it, he perked up, and then dropped his head and walked right into the barn.”
It’s clear to Pratt that Mr. Wolverine was well treated in his race days, and showing him off to his old connections, listening to their stories while Mr. Wolverine took all the fuss in stride was a special moment for her.
“We just love this horse,” she says.