Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bunny's Derby Darlings 2014: Noble Moon Rising

It's that time of year to roll out "Bunny's Derby Darlings 2014"!  In this series, I will feature promising 3-year-olds on the Kentucky Derby trail.

Noble Moon confirmed himself as a contender on the 2014 Kentucky Derby trail by winning his seasonal debut – Saturday’s Jerome Stakes.  He settled on the pace this time out, proving his versatility in race strategy.

Now having earnings of nearly $200,000, Noble Moon was the favorite for the Jerome on the merits of a promising juvenile campaign.  The Lea Gyarmati-trainee made his career debut in mid-September of last year at Belmont.  Noble Moon’s first race pitted him against eleven opponents.  Sent off at high odds, he won by ¾ length and paid $53.50 for the win.

Carrying the colors of Jeff Treadway’s Treadway Racing Stable, Noble Moon returned to the races in early November and joined Graded Stakes company for the Nashua Stakes.  The colt finished third-best in the one mile race, but nevertheless showed promise.  Though the victorious Cairo Prince and runner-up Financial Mogul defeated him by 3 lengths, he was bumped at the start, raced six paths wide into the homestretch, and responded to jockey Alex Solis with a strong closing kick.

The Jerome was a stark contrast with a correspondingly different result.  With Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard, this bay left the stalls a step slowly, but was keen to stay near the frontrunners.  The long-striding colt led the field after the opening half mile.  Coming out of the turn, he seemed to be an obvious winner, but Classic Giacnroll provided a challenge.  However, the opponent would not pass and Noble Moon won the 1 mile, 70 yard event with a final time of 1:45.08. 

Lea Gyarmati stated that Noble Moon will probably opt out of the Withers Stakes on February 1 in order to race in the Gotham Stakes the following month.

Noble Blood

The cross that created Noble Moon could only result in a lovely horse.  He is by Malibu Moon – sire of last year’s Kentucky Derby winner, Orb – and out of the Kingmambo mare, Mambo Bell.  Along with some other appealing qualities of these bloodlines, there is a solid influence of Princequillo.

From the estate of Edward P. Evans, Noble Moon has a most attractive pedigree.  However, it raises a concern for stretching out in distance. Though Malibu Moon sired a Derby winner, the traits of Bold Ruler, Mr. Prospector, and Nijinsky could result in a miler when matched with a mare such as Mambo Bell.  Malibu Moon’s sire, A.P. Indy is by Seattle Slew and out of a Secretariat mare, which means both his sire and broodmare sire are from the Bold Ruler line.  Malibu Moon is out of a Mr. Prospect mare whose damsire is the Nijinsky son, Green Dancer.

Mambo Bell is a daughter of the prestigious Kingmambo.  The celebrated bay stallion presents the ideal pedigree for a miler - by Mr. Prospector and out of the great mare, Miesque (by Northern Dancer’s son, Nureyev).   

Kingmambo’s miler-build is sometimes very apparent in his grandsons, which has generated concern when adding distance.  Noble Moon is a good example of this, as he is more muscular than his Classic distance rivals.  Perhaps his compact physique will prevent injury on the Triple Crown trail.  His powerful, efficient stride comes as the result of his favorable conformation.


  1. LOVED IT! Well done, Bunny. And sending you my best of the best wishes for a 2014 worthy of you. Or, just an ordinary Happy New Year!!!! Abigail

    1. Thank you, Abigail! Your kind words mean so much to me. Thank you for your thoughtful Christmas card! Wishing you a spectacular 2014!