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Magnum Moon Stays Perfect, Wins G1 Arkansas Derby

by Oaklawn Park Press Release

April 14, 2018

HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, April 14, 2018) – Robert and Lawana Low’s Magnum Moon is now a perfect four for four and holds the top position on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard after scoring an impressive victory in Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) before a crowd of 64,500. The Todd Pletcher-trainee added 100 points to his 50 from winning Oaklawn’s March 17 Rebel Stakes (G2) to bring his total to 150 points, 16 more than champion Good Magic.

Total handle for the 12-race card was $16,159,771.31, a record for a single day card in Oaklawn’s 114 history.

Ridden by Luis Saez, Magnum Moon, the 4-5 favorite, grabbed the lead from the break and never looked back, proceeding to set fractions of :23.34 and :48.60 for the first half mile, while being tracked closely by Quip. The winner shied in the stretch, but quickly overcame it to draw off to win by four lengths over Quip, who earned 40 points for second, in 1:49.86 over a fast track.

Solomini, the Rebel Stakes runner-up, came from sixth in the nine-horse field to finish third and earned 20 points. He was followed by Combatant, Tenfold, Plainsman, Dream Baby Dream, Beautiful Shot and Machismo.

Magnum Moon, a Malibu Moon colt, has now earned $1,177,800. He returned $3.60, $2.80 and $2.40 as the heavy favorite.

Live racing will resume January 25, 2019.

$1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) Quotes:

Todd Pletcher (Magnum Moon) – “I thought it (his race) was very good. I’m 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 tire marks when he went the 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.”

Magnum Moon is scheduled to return to Palm Beach Downs on Sunday, Pletcher said, and “tentatively” fly to Churchill Downs on April 23. Will breeze once at Churchill Downs - “probably” eight days before the Kentucky Derby.

Winning owner Robert Low (Magnum Moon) – “He had me worried to death when I saw we were on the lead. But, Luis (Saez) gave him a masterful ride.”

Winning Jockey Luis Saez (Magnum Moon) – ”I thought there was going to be a little speed. We were in a good position, he broke really sharp. I’m not going to choke him. I am just going to stay there and he was very comfortable into the turn. He was traveling pretty good. When I came to the stretch I felt like he was looking at the gate marks so when we got there I touched him a little and he went. We will see what happens.”

Trainer Rodolphe Brisset (Quip, second) – “I guess that's just the way the race set up (when asked if he expected Magnum Moon to be on the lead). We could have tried to go on the lead. I think Florent (Geroux) did the right thing.”

Jockey Florent Geroux (Quip, second) –”We had a good trip. He always breaks sharp and is always forwardly placed. When Luis (Saez on Magnum Moon) smooched to his horse, I knew he wanted the lead. I let my horse settle and he did very nicely. My horse ran hard. Solomini is a nice horse too. I’m very satisfied with his race.”

Racing Manager Justin Zayat (Zayat Stables LLC. co-owner of Solomini) – “He didn’t break as sharply as we would have liked. He was third best today. The winner is a really nice horse. We’ll talk to Bob (Baffert), but I thought it was a good race and now it’s on to Kentucky.”

Jockey Flavien Prat (Solomini, third) – ”We broke well and then settled off the pace. He ran a nice one.”