Magnum Moon's dynamic victory in Saturday's $900,000 Rebel S. (G2) put the 3-year-old Malibu Moon colt squarely in the Kentucky Derby (G1) picture, earning him 50 points on the Road to the Derby Challenge and virtually assuring himself a spot in the starting gate for the May 5 Run for the Roses.
The bay colt, owned by Robert and Lawana Low, was making his first stakes start after easy wins in Jan. 13 Gulfstream Park maiden special weight and an allowance race on Feb. 15 at Tampa Bay Downs, when he was named a TDN “Rising Star”.
Despite facing more seasoned competition, Magnum Moon handled the challenge like a veteran. He broke very alertly from post four to grab the lead, but dropped back to fourth while three-wide around the first turn. Entering the final turn, Luis Saez began to urge Magnum Moon on, and he forged ahead of Title Ready at the top of the stretch.
Spurting away from the field at that point, Magnum Moon was 2 ½ lengths ahead with a furlong to run and increased his lead to best Solomini by 3 1/2-lengths at the wire, stopping the timer in 1:42.68 for the 1 1/16-miles.
“We're just going to relish this victory and take one at a time,” said Robert Low. “We'll just see how he comes back. Luis, [trainer] Todd [Pletcher], the whole team did a fantastic job and we're just so proud to be associated with this horse.”
Pletcher indicated that Magnum Moon would make his next start in the Arkansas Derby (G1) before heading to Churchill Downs.
Pedigree Notes from the TDN: Magnum Moon's unraced dam was an $825,000 KEESEP yearling and is out of GSW Win McCool. GSW third dam Win Crafty Lady produced GII Arkansas Derby winner Graeme Hall and GISW Harmony Lodge. The Malibu Moon-Unbridled's Song cross produced last year's two-time Grade I-winning juvenile filly and TDN Rising Star Moonshine Memories, as well as MGSW Farrell, who was third in Saturday's GII Azeri S.