Though it wasn’t the perfect run that his connections envisioned, Magnum Moon did more than enough to put away the competition and win the 2018 Arkansas Derby. He is well on his way to Churchill Downs and came out of the race in ideal shape.
Going off as a strong 4/5 favorite, Magnum Moon broke from the gate smoothly and led from the start as he entered the clubhouse turn. Quip hounded him as a 6/1 outsider. The pace was dull at :23.34 in the first quarter-mile while hitting :48.60 at the half pole.
Quip refused to relent and pressed on the whole why, while Solomini worked his way from the back to battle for third place alongside. Nobody touched Magnum Moon, who burst down the home stretch, drifted wide and sailed home in 1:49.86 to win the 2018 Arkansas Derby.
His backers earned $3.80 with the win, while Quip battled valiantly the whole way to lock in second place and pay back $4.40. Solomini returned $2.80 as a 3/1 second choice and never really recovered from a poor start at the beginning.
Todd Pletcher earned his fifth title with the 2018 Arkansas Derby victory and was honest in his praise of Magnum Moon. “I thought it was very good,” said Pletcher of his prized colt. “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 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.”
The illustrious trainer will take five horses to the Kentucky Derby including Magnum Moon, Vino Rosso, Audible and Noble Indy. Magnum Moon is now the highest points earner heading in to the derby and has also solidified his place as an outright contender.
He will attempt to become the first Arkansas Derby and Rebel Stakes winner to triumph in the Kentucky Derby and join an elite pack that includes Sunny Halo, Smarty Jones and American Pharoah.