Horse > Magnum Moon
Magnum Moon winning the Arkansas Derby (Coady Photo/Oaklawn Park)
Kentucky Derby Thoughts by John Mucciolo
Late-blooming colt was a little late to the party being unraced in 2017, but he has made up for lost time in a big way.
Todd Pletcher trainee remained unblemished and untested following a decisive score in the Arkansas Derby (G1). Son of Malibu Moon has made short work of every foe to date. And he arguably has as much raw talent as any horse leading into the Kentucky Derby.
Magnum Moon showed me that he was a heavy hitter with his Rebel Stakes (G2) triumph two prior in defeating a solid cast at Oaklawn Park. In the Arkansas Derby, he bolstered my prior opinion of him with a no-doubt romp over another good group.
Bred in the Bluegrass State, Magnum Moon is by a horse who has sired a Derby winner. And he is out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Dazzling Song, from a family with class but not especially stamina.
$380,000 yearling purchase has earned 100 and 99 BRIS Speed ratings from his pair of graded races and must improve that to challenge for the win in a mighty field this season.
The Kentucky Derby contender didn’t debut until January 13 at Gulfstream when dominating maidens, and he will try to buck a 135-year trend at Churchill Downs. Apollo, in 1882, was the last Derby winner who didn’t have a start as a two-year-old, like Magnum Moon.
And there is another nugget Magnum Moon has to overcome. In the Arkansas Derby, the bay colt did not keep a straight course through the lane, and those antics will not play out well at Churchill Downs on May 5 against this powerful group.
What to do with Magnum Moon is my toughest decision in the 2018 Kentucky Derby. The ultra-talented three-year-old will be a square price and has done little wrong to date. Gorgeous colt has been hyped since he was a baby and is justifying the praise on the racetrack.
I fully believe that Magnum Moon doesn’t take a backseat to any sophomore talent-wise. And he can win the Kentucky Derby. But in a year with so much genuine ability, any minor flaw can be exposed in a big way. And his stretch run at Oaklawn penalizes him in my view.
Magnum Moon will be in every one of my multi-race plays, though he is not my top selection. I feel that he will finish somewhere in the top six in the Kentucky Derby.
It’s only taken three starts for the currently undefeated Magnum Moon to solidify his place as one of the true contenders for the Kentucky Derby garland of roses. The Malibu Moon colt won his stakes debut in the 2018 Rebel Stakes, and is one of many Todd Pletcher trainees in the running for the American Classics.
There’s been many horses to consider along the Derby trail, but Magnum Moon’s win in the Rebel came with a 3 ½ length gap over second place finisher Solomini. It was the type of performance that Magnum Moon needed in order to generate favorable momentum. Now that he has it, he doesn’t seem keen on losing any of it.
As a modest acquisition for Robert and Lawana Low that cost them just $380,000, Magnum Moon has now earned $577,800 and gathered enough points to compete in the Kentucky Derby. His final shot to obtain points towards the Kentucky Derby trail was by headlining the 2018 Arkansas Derby as the 8/5 favorite. He won and jumped to the top of the points leaders with his award of 100 points.