Will the ‘Moon’ shine over Churchill Downs during the Kentucky Derby? Magnum Moon is a favorite to win the race so get all the details about this extravagant equine.
1. He’s the third-favorite horse to win the 2018 Kentucky Derby. When the gates open at the 144th Kentucky Derby, 20 horses will spend “the Fastest Two Minutes In Sports” racing into the history books. One of the thoroughbreds hoping to add his name along the list of winners is Magnum Moon, a horse currently with the third best odds to win the race. As of May 2, Magnum was listed at 6-1 odds, behind Mendelssohn (5-1) and the overall favorite, Justify (3-1).
2. He’s another “rookie” in this race. Just like Justify, Magnum Moon didn’t race when he was 2-years-old. He made his racing debut in January 2018, winning a Gulfstream race. Since then, he won an allowance race at Tampa Bay Downs, before winning the Rebel Stakes in March and the Arkansas Derby in April. The 18 other horses will have an extra year of racing under their belts, which could explain why …
3. He’s facing a 135+ year-old curse. …no horse who didn’t race as a 2-year-old has won the Kentucky Derby since 1882. Apollo was the last horse to do it, and so, the Curse Of Apollo has haunted horses ever since. “I don’t think there’s any question that the Apollo Curse will be broken here at some point,” Magnum Moon’s trainer, Todd Pletcher said, per KY3. “The trend is a lot different now than it was however many years ago you wanna go back. Horses just don’t run as many times leading into the Derby as they used to.”
The only horses (who didn’t race as 2-year-olds) to either place or show at Kentucky were, according to the Washington Post: Hampden (third in 1946) Coaltown (second in 1948) Agitate (third in 1974), Reinvested (third in 1982), Strodes Creek (second in 1994), Curlin (third in 2007), Bodemeister (second in 2012) and Battle of Midway (third in 2017).
4. He has an even greater uphill battle. Gates 2-10 have produced 73% of the winners because it’s easier to avoid getting pinned along the rail. Magnum Moon drew Gate 16, which has produced five winners in the past, the last one being Animal Kingdom in 2011. “I’ve often said that you can work out good good trips from bad post postions and vise-versa,” Todd said, per KY3. “A little further outside with the other three than ideally we would have liked but I’m confident that our jockeys can get away cleanly from the gate and work out a good trip.”
5. He’s related to past winners. Magnum Moon’s sire is Malibu Moon, who sired 2013 winner Orb. His mother, Dazzling Song, was unraced. Could Magnum be like his brother and win the Derby? “He’s such a gentleman, he’s so cooperative, I think that makes a difference,” Magnum Moon’s owner Robert Low said. “I don’t care if you’ve had 15 races or four races, if you’re not cooperative with the jockey and your handlers that can be a problem. So I think this horse is special in that way.”