July 20, 2018

Magnum Moon undergoes surgery for career-ending injury

Magnum Moon's victory in the Arkansas Derby propelled him to the top of the Kentucky Derby leaderboard (c) Coady Photography

Robert and Lawana Low’s Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Magnum Moon, who sustained a career-ending injury in a Saturday work, has undergone surgery at Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists next to Belmont Park. His long-term prognosis is guarded, according to a Sunday morning report by the Blood-Horse’s Jeremy Balan.

Although details regarding the “structural injury” to a foreleg have not been released, the Lows’ bloodstock advisor, Jacob West, said that it was repaired by the operation. But Magnum Moon faces a lengthy period of recuperation, and potential complications to his recovery.

“The first hurdle has been jumped, but we’ve got a thousand more to go,” West told Balan.

Magnum Moon emerged as one of the leading three-year-olds on the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail. Like eventual Triple Crown winner Justify, he was unraced at two, and made rapid strides to enter the “Run for the Roses” unbeaten.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Magnum Moon rolled by 4 1/2 lengths in his January 13 debut at Gulfstream Park. The well-bred son of Malibu Moon stretched out to two turns in an entry-level allowance at Tampa Bay Downs February 15, cruising to a handy two-length score.

Magnum Moon sought Derby points at the Lows’ virtual hometown track, Oaklawn Park, and dominated the final two preps in Hot Springs. A 3 1/2-length winner of the Rebel S. (G2), he was similarly emphatic when drawing four lengths clear in the April 14 Arkansas Derby. Those two victories propelled him to the top of the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 150 points.

Unfortunately, Magnum Moon endured a troubled passage from early on at Churchill Downs and never had the opportunity to deliver his best in the Derby. He crossed the wire in 19th, followed by Aidan O’Brien’s highly regarded Mendelssohn.

Freshened in anticipation of rebounding over the summer, Magnum Moon returned to the worktab over Belmont’s training track earlier this month. He posted a pair of half-mile moves on June 3 and June 9, each in :50.04, and fired a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.80 on June 16, before Saturday’s breeze went tragically wrong.

Magnum Moon was bred by Ramona Bass in Kentucky and purchased for $380,000 as a yearling at Keeneland September. Bred on a cross similar to 2013 Kentucky Derby hero Orb, who was also raised at Claiborne Farm, Magnum Moon is out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Dazzling Song. He hails from the family of Grade 1 victress Harmony Lodge and multiple Grade 2-winning sire Graeme Hall, who captured the 2000 Arkansas Derby.

For more on Magnum Moon’s background and early promise, see his installment of “Tales from the Crib” on kentuckyderby.com.

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