Arkansas Derby Probably Next
By Dick Downey
Todd Pletcher assistant Ginny DePasquale said Sunday that Magnum Moon emerged from his Rebel Stakes win sound, and that he may return to Oaklawn Park for the Arkansas Derby.
His stablemate Hedge Fund Hedge Fund, a front-running winner of the Essex Handicap for older horses, is also well today.
“They both came back very well,” said DePasquale, who saddled the horses in Pletcher’s absence. “Both came back in good shape.”
Magnum Moon was scheduled to be flown back to his south Florida base on Monday, but DePasquale said the flight may be delayed until Tuesday.
If Magnum Moon returns for the Arkansas Derby, it would be the same path followed by Pletcher with Malagacy, who won the Rebel in his third career start and stakes debut last year. Malagacy finished fifth in the Arkansas Derby. Neither Malagacy or Magnum Moon raced as juveniles, but they are different kinks of horses. Pletcher called the Arkansas Derby “the most likely and most logical spot”
Owned by Robert and Lawana Low, Magnum Moon recorded a 3 1/2-length victory over favored Solomini and secured a spot in the Kentucky Derby with 50 Derby points.
His time in the Rebel, 1:42.68, was the fastest in that race since Smarty Jones was timed in 1:42.07 in 2004.
Sporting Chance is all right after his fifth-place finish, D. Wayne Lukas said Sunday morning. He will be pointed to the Arkansas Derby.
“It’s hard for me to handle that one because I thought I had him trained to the minute,” Lukas said. “I really felt like he would run a monster race, and he didn’t. He flattened out a little bit. He had a decent trip. I was disappointed in him. Don’t have a lot of explanations, but he did come back good.”