After Orb gave his sire Malibu Moon a Kentucky Derby (G1) winner last year, the Spendthrift stallion has another Triple Crown hopeful on the rise in Noble Moon, who captured the $200,000 Jerome S. (G2) for 3-year-olds on Saturday at Aqueduct.
Going one mile and 70 yards, Noble Moon was a beat behind at the break, but recovered quickly to settle a length behind 85-1 pacesetter Pin and Win through a quarter mile in :24.07 seconds. Pin and Win began to falter soon after, with Irad Ortiz, Jr. guided the bay colt to the rail entering the turn. A trio of challengers mounted their bid, but Noble Moon turned them all away to prevail by two lengths on the wire.
Noble Moon completed the distance over the inner track in 1:45.08.
"He broke a little slowly, but then he put me in the race," said Ortiz. "He's got a big, long stride. I asked him at the quarter-pole and he picked it right up."
"I told (Irad), 'If he gets out and gets a clear lead and can do it easily, great. If somebody else wants it, let them have it and get outside,'" said Leah Gyarmati, who trains Noble Moon for Treadway Racing. "And then, all of a sudden, there was a second wave of horses on him, but he didn't want to let anybody by him."
The 76th career stakes winner by Malibu Moon, Noble Moon has now won two of his three starts, for earnings of $193,000. He also earned 10 points toward a potential start in the Derby on May 3.
Gyarmati said Noble Moon may skip the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers S. on Feb. 1 at Aqueduct to train up to the Grade 3, $500,000 Gotham S. on March 1.
With Orb leading the way, Malibu Moon finished 2013 as the fourth-leading sire on the General Sire List, second among all sires by strictly North American earnings. His final progeny earnings totaled $10,129,794. He will stand the 2014 season at Spendthrift for $95,000 LFS&N.