Magnum Moon stayed flawless Saturday in winning the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs. Considering how green he was still acting in the stretch, one could argue that if the bay colt gets his mind completely right by May 5, he could the top dog in a Pletcher armada that also includes Grade 1 Xpressbet Florida Derby winner Audible, Grade 2 Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets winner Vino Rosso, and Grade 2 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby victor Noble Indy. Will breeze once at Churchill Downs - "probably" eight days before the Kentucky Derby.
A Springfield family may just have the horse to win them a Kentucky Derby.
Looking ahead, Magnum Moon will attempt to join the likes of American Pharoah, Smarty Jones and Sunny's Halo to capture both the Arkansas Derby and the first race of the Triple Crown. "Very pleased with the outcome".
Magnum Moon led every step of the 82nd Arkansas Derby, giving trainer Todd Pletcher a record fifth victory in Oaklawn's oldest and richest event.
The 4/5 favorite snagged 100 points on Saturday for The Run for The Roses, adding to the 50 points he had already grabbed in his second big victory at Oaklawn this season when he took The Rebel Stakes on March 17.
"We were in a good position; he broke really sharp", said Saez.
Jockey Florent Geroux (Quip, second) -"We had a good trip". I'm not going to choke him.
And, along with West Coast star Justify, 3 for 3 for Bob Baffert, Magnum Moon hopes to become the first unraced 2-year-old to win the Churchill Downs classic since Apollo in 1882. "He's won a number of different ways now, and I think he's proven that he's the kind of horse that doesn't need the race to unfold a certain way, that he's able to kind of make his own race". I am just going to stay there and he was very comfortable into the turn.
Magnum Moon's time in the 1 and 1/8 mile race was 1:49.86. We could have tried to go on the lead.
Tenfold, Plainsman, Dream Baby Dream, Beautiful Shot and Machismo completed the field - the previously unbeaten Tenfold laying third at the head of the stretch and with Beautiful Shot close to the pace early.