Magnum Moon put himself squarely into the Kentucky Derby discussion following Saturday’s convincing score in the deep Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, the three-year-old colt served notice in his lifetime debut at Gulfstream Park in January when dominating maiden foes while earning a 99 BRIS Speed figure.

A handy two-turn allowance win at Tampa Bay Downs followed the debut and he passed his initial major test at Oaklawn Park, powering home to a 3 ½-length decision in a Grade-1 quality field under regular pilot Luis Saez.

Magnum Moon was a $380,000 yearling purchase at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale by Robert E. and Lawana L. Low.

The bay is by Malibu Moon, who drew rave reviews breaking his maiden at 2-5 odds but unfortunately suffered a career-ending injury after only two starts. The son of A.P. Indy began his stud life in Maryland in 2000, standing for a modest fee of $3,000, but after producing champion Declan’s Moon from his second crop, he was subsequently relocated to the Bluegrass State for the 2004 breeding season.

Now standing at Spendthrift Farm for a fee of $75,000, live foal, Malibu Moon has sired more than 40 graded stakes winners to date. And Malibu Moon has already shown the ability to produce a Kentucky Derby victor, with his son Orb proving much the best in the 2013 Run for The Roses.

Dazzling Song, a daughter of Unbridled’s Song, is the dam of Magnum Moon and he represents the first stakes hero from the unraced mare. She is out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Win McCool, who is kin to multiple Grade 2 star and sire Graeme Hall; Grade 1 heroine Harmony Lodge; and multiple stakes queen Win’s Fair Lady.

Unbridled’s Song has been a very impactful broodmare sire and the Malibu Moon-Unbridled’s Song cross has been exceptional of late. In 2017, the nick gave us dual Grade-1 queen Moonshine Memories as well as three-time Grade-2 starlet Farrell.

The female line of Magunm Moon’s pedigree is slanted towards speed and could impact the colt’s chances of being a top performer going 10 furlongs, and beyond. But given how this emerging pedigree cross has thrived in the recent past with Orb (by Malibu Moon out of an Unbridled mare) and other two-turn stakes winners, we can’t put the Kentucky Derby distance past him.

Magnum Moon is clearly among the most talented sophomores in training. But as an unraced two-year-old, he has to overcome 136 years of history known as the “Curse of Apollo.” Apollo, who won the 1882 edition, was the last horse to achieve Derby glory after being unraced at age 2.

The last prep race promises to tell us a whole lot as we watch to see if Magnum Moon can prosper at 1 1/8 miles against the best in his crop.