Sports

KENTUCKY DERBY: Magnum Moon makes it easily after winning Arkansas Derby

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

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Chalk up another Kentucky Derby prep race for trainer Todd Pletcher as Magnum Moon was a dominating winner of last Saturday's Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, winning his fourth-consecutive start to stay undefeated.

The 100 points he earned, added to the 50 from the Rebel Stakes, easily secured the three-year-old son of Malibu Moon a spot at the starting gate in the Kentucky Derby.

Off as the 4-5 favourite in a field of nine, Magnum Moon and jockey Luis Saez completed nine furlongs over Oaklawn's fast main track in 1:49.86.

It was about four lengths back to Quip, who nosed out Solomini for the place.

“I thought it (his race) was very good,” said Pletcher. “Very pleased with the outcome. A little concerned that he drifted out the last part, but it looked like he sort of — halfway — thought about jumping over the tyre marks when he went by the eighth pole where the gate was, and sort of skipped over those. I think he was maybe just drifting away from that. Aside from that, I thought he finished with good energy and was pulling away from some nice horses. He showed his versatility. 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.”

Drawn near the centre of the field, Magnum Moon broke well to find himself challenged early by both Quip and Machismo. Saez let Magnum Moon extend his stride a bit to take the lead around the first turn, completing a quarter in :23.34.

Striding down the backstretch with his ears pricked, Magnum Moon allowed Saez to take a comfortable long hold through a half in :48.60. Quip got closer by a half-length, but Saez never panicked, waiting all through the far turn even as Quip approached Magnum Moon's throatlatch.

At the top of the lane, Magnum Moon burst away from the field by two lengths.

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