No Kentucky Derby (G1) winner has been unraced as a two-year-old since Apollo in 1882, but 136 years of the so-called Apollo Curse could receive a stern test this year as both Justify and Magnum Moon are among the favorites for this year’s Run For the Roses.
Magnum Moon earned a 100 Brisnet Speed Rating and 50 Kentucky Derby points for his 3 1/2-length win over Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) runner-up Solomini in the Rebel Stakes (G2) on March 17 at Oaklawn Park.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said he plans to return to Oaklawn with Magnum Moon for the Arkansas Derby on April 15, a date also circled on Racing Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s calendar for Justify’s stakes debut. To date, Justify has run faster than Magnum Moon, posting a 104 Speed Rating in his second-career start, but Magnum Moon already has enough points to run in the Derby while Justify does not have any points.
Justify was the individual wagering choice at 6-1 to win the Kentucky Derby when Future Wager Pool 3 closed on March 11, and Magnum Moon—at the time undefeated in two starts just like Justify—was 25-1. That gap is likely to narrow for Pool 4 April 6-8 now that Magnum Moon has points.
This is a bridge week on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, as Part 2 of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series begins with the Louisiana Derby on March 24 at Fair Grounds Race Course offering 170 points, including 100 to the winner, and Part 1 concludes with the Sunland Derby on March 25 at Sunland Park offering the final 85-point race with 50 points to the winner.
Magnum Moon’s effort in the penultimate Part 1 race came back average performance-wise, as he became the third winner to top the triple-digit Speed Rating mark but one of only two winners not to top 120 on the Class Rating. Based on historical Derby-winning ratings, improvement is needed for the Malibu Moon colt. The average winning Speed Rating for the Kentucky Derby since the points system started in 2013 is 103.
Brisnet.com proprietary data such as the Speed Ratings used here is available in the Ultimate Past Performances, which are free to TwinSpires.com players when they wager. The Speed Rating measures how fast a horse ran a particular race and is comparable across distance, surface, and location. For more information, CLICK HERE.