‘TDN Rising Star‘ Magnum Moon (Malibu Moon) continued his meteoric rise up the sophomore ranks as he dominated Saturday’s GII Rebel S. to increase his unbeaten mark to three. Heavily favored Solomini (Curlin) settled for second narrowly over Combatant (Scat Daddy).
Off as the clear second choice at 3-1, Magnum Moon broke well and put a head in front crossing the wire for the first time before deferring the early lead and sitting a three-deep third. He began to ratchet up the pressure through a :47.15 half, and was into second as Solomini started to get going up the fence. Magnum Moon stuck a head in front of pacesetting Title Ready (More Than Ready) at the quarter pole, and with Solomini trapped behind that one, he was able to get the jump. Solomini struggled a bit with his lead changes once taken off the fence, and Magnum Moon tried to get out a bit himself, but there was no catching the latter as he strode out nicely to the wire three in front.
“We’re just going to relish this victory and take one [win] at a time,” said Robert Low, who owns Magnum Moon with wife Lawana. “We’ll just see how he comes back. [Rider] Luis [Saez], [trainer] Todd [Pletcher], the whole team did a fantastic job and we’re just so proud to be associated with this horse.”
The victory marked back-to-back Rebel wins for Pletcher. Solomini’s conditioner Bob Baffert had won six of the seven renewals prior to that.
Saturday, Oaklawn Park
REBEL S.-GII, $900,000, OP, 3-17, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:42.68, ft.
1–MAGNUM MOON, 115, c, 3, by Malibu Moon
1st Dam: Dazzling Song, by Unbridled’s Song
2nd Dam: Win McCool, by Giant’s Causeway
3rd Dam: Win Crafty Lady, by Crafty Prospector
‘TDN Rising Star’ 1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES
WIN. ($380,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Lawana & Robert Low;
B-Ramona S. Bass, LLC (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher; J-Luis Saez.
$540,000. Lifetime Record: 3-3-0-0, $577,800. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A+++
*Triple Plus*.2–Solomini, 115, c, 3, Curlin–Surf Song, by Storm Cat.
($270,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Zayat Stables, LLC, Mrs. John
Magnier, Michael B. Tabor & Derrick Smith; B-Glenna R. Salyer
(KY); T-Bob Baffert. $180,000.3–Combatant, 115, c, 3, Scat Daddy–Border Dispute, by
Boundary. ($320,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Winchell
Thoroughbreds LLC and Willis Horton Racing LLC; B-Paget
Bloodstock (KY); T-Steven M. Asmussen. $90,000.Margins: 3HF, HD, 1HF. Odds: 3.00, 1.10, 8.40.
Also Ran: Title Ready, Sporting Chance, Zing Zang, High North, Higher Power, Pryor, Curlin’s Honor. Scratched: Bode’s Maker.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
Magnum Moon earned a strong 95 Beyer Speed Figure for a debut score sprinting at Gulfstream Jan. 13 over three next-out graduates. He earned ‘Rising Star’-dom when stretched out to take a Feb. 15 Tampa Bay Downs optional claimer reminiscent of the move Pletcher made with eventual GI Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming (Bodemeister) last year.
“We felt like we had a very talented colt; very pleased with his first two races,” Pletcher said by phone. “But this was a step up in class and running against accomplished, seasoned colts. We were confident that he was training very well, coming into it in great shape and just hoping he could handle the continued rise in class… There’s nothing like seeing it actually happen. You can always prepare for it and hope for it and all that. It’s still up to the horse to go there out and prove it. Very proud of him for doing it today.”
Pletcher, who sent out the Low’s $1-million Ruler of the Nile (Pioneerof the Nile) to a 7 1/4-length debut drubbing last Saturday at Tampa, said Magnum Moon would likely return to Hot Springs for the GI Arkansas Derby
Pilot Luis Saez had ridden Magnum Moon in both of his prior outings, but had also been aboard Sporting Chance (Tiznow) in that one’s last three, which included a victory in the GI Hopeful S.
“We took like two weeks to make that decision [to ride Magnum Moon in the Rebel],” Saez said. “I always thought this horse was going to be a good horse. I love Sporting Chance, he’s a very good horse, but we decided to ride [Magnum Moon] today and he proved he’s a good horse.”
As for Saturday’s trip, the hot-handed jock added, “He was traveling pretty good. He broke good and was in the right spot. When he came to the stretch, he just kept running and never stopped.”
Flavien Prat, who rode Solomini, said: “Had a good race… We had a good trip. We got on the inside and that’s not the best for him, but then I wasn’t going to keep him off. And he made a nice run. I mean he ran a good second.”
Magnum Moon’s unraced dam was an $825,000 KEESEP yearling and is out of GSW Win McCool. GSW third dam Win Crafty Lady produced GII Arkansas Derby winner Graeme Hall (Dehere) and GISW Harmony Lodge (Hennessy). Dazzling Song was not bred in 2016, but had an Uncle Mo filly in 2017. She lost a War Front colt this year. The Malibu Moon–Unbridled’s Song cross produced last year’s two-time Grade I-winning juvenile filly and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Moonshine Memories, as well as MGSW Farrell, who was third in Saturday’s GII Azeri S.