2018 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Magnum Moon
Magnum Moon on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard
After making his career debut in mid-January, Todd Pletcher-trained Magnum Moon made his stakes debut two races later, taking the (G2) Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park by 3 1/2 lengths over Solomini, who he'll face again in the Derby, and Combatant, who will need a withdrawal to get in. The Rebel win was worth 50 qualifying points. He then picked up another 100 points by winning the (G1) Arkansas Derby by four lengths over those two as well as Quip, who is 10th on the leaderboard. Magnum Moon's 150 points put him in first place in the final standings.
Magnum Moon's Race Record
As mentioned, Magnum Moon only came to the races this year, and since making his debut he's had an evenly spaced scheduled of one race a month through January, February, March and April. He won his maiden race at Gulfstream Park by 4 1/2 lengths, and then captured an allowance event at Tampa Bay Downs by 2 lengths, racing just over one mile. He then stretched out to 1 1/16 miles for the Rebel win, and then 1 1/8 miles in the Arkansas Derby. He'll go into the Kentucky Derby with a perfect record of four wins in four starts.
Magnum Moon Pedigree
Magnum Moon's sire is Malibu Moon, who only raced twice in his career, getting a win and a runner-up finish. The first of those was at 4 1/2 furlongs, and the second at 5 furlongs. His grandsire (like several others in this year's Derby) is A.P. Indy, who won the 1 1/4 mile Breeders' Cup Classic and the 1 1/2 mile Belmont Stakes, both in 1992. Magnum Moon's dam is a mare named Macoumba, who won three of six races in Europe, all on the turf, including a one-mile Group 1 race. Her sire was Mr. Prospector, was finished in the money in all seven lifetime starts, mostly racing at one mile.
Why Magnum Moon Can Win the Kentucky Derby
He has shown steady improvement through all four of his races, and in Arkansas he showed a new ability to get to the front early and carry his speed throughout the race, something that he's likely going to need to do in Kentucky. He has already soundly beaten at least two of his Derby rivals, including a Grade 2 winner in Quip. He has good ability to quicken as they turn into the stretch drive, and his last 1/8 mile in the Arkansas at 11.99 seconds was the fastest finishing 1/8 time of all five 1 1/8-mile prep races.
Why Magnum Moon Can't Win the Kentucky Derby
Overall, the Arkansas Derby wasn't a fast race, and he had a fairly easy time clicking off slow fractions on the lead, something he won't get at Churchill Downs. On paper, he seriously lacks distance pedigree, and in the Arkansas he drifted way out wide after coming off the final turn with a comfortable lead, and that's often the sign of a horse reaching his distance limit. Only one of the two colts unraced at two in the Derby can be the one to break the "Apollo curse" and right now his rival Justify looks more formidable.
Magnum Moon Betting Odds
Bovada's online racebook has Magnum Moon as fourth choice in the betting at odds of 8-1, while most current racing analysts have him somewhere in the 6-1 range. Based on his top-place finish on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, he's a candidate to take a lot of money from the large number of people who only ever bet the Derby, so he could be as low as 4-1.
See Also: Kentucky Derby Contenders: Good Magic
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