Magnum Moon will go into next month's Kentucky Derby (G1) undefeated following his commanding four-length win in Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park.
The Malibu Moon colt will likely be one of the favorites in the May 5 Run for the Roses, riding a winning streak that began with his maiden win on Jan. 13. The bay colt, trained by Todd Pletcher for Robert and Lawana Low, then added an allowance win on Feb. 15 before taking Oaklawn's Rebel S. (G2) by 3 1/2-lengths in his black-type debut.
The Arkansas Derby presented his stiffest challenge to date, with top-class colts such as Quip and Solomini also in the field. Magnum Moon broke very well and was just ahead of Quip going into the first turn. Those two were side by side until there was less than a quarter-mile to run. Straightening for home, Magnum Moon sprinted away from the field, widening his lead the rest of the way. The final time for the 1 1/8-miles was 1:49.86.
“I thought it (his race) was very good,” said Pletcher. “Very pleased with the outcome. I thought he finished with good energy and was pulling away from some nice horses. He showed his versatility. He's won a number of different ways now and I think he's proven that he's the kind of horse that doesn't need the race to unfold a certain way, that he's able to kind of make his own race.”
With the big payday on Saturday, Magnum Moon became racing's newest millionaire with earnings of $1,177,800. He also is the points leader on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Challenge series with 150.
Magnum Moon is Malibu Moon's 15th lifetime Grade 1 winner and his seventh millionaire. Malibu Moon's all-time leading earner Orb won the 2014 Kentucky Derby.
Bred in Kentucky by Ramona S. Bass, Magnum Moon was a $380,000 Keeneland September yearling sale purchase.