Fresh off being named the 2007 champion juvenile male by the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Preakness Stakes (gr. I) hopeful Giant Moon will be looking to get back to his winning ways in the second leg of the Triple Crown.
The New York-bred Giant's Causeway colt began his career with four consecutive victories for trainer Richard Schosberg and owner/breeder Albert Fried Jr. before finishing off the board in his two attempts at graded stakes company.
Although Giant Moon finished fourth in his last race, the April 5 Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I), he was only two lengths behind the winner, Tale of Ekati, who went onto finish fourth in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
“We think Giant Moon has shown improvement,” said Fried. “In the Wood, while it was listed as a fast track, the inside was the worst part of it. When a spot on the inside opened up, (jockey Jorge) Chavez went for it and got it, but it was a very tiring spot.”
In his first try at graded company, Giant Moon ran the worst race of his career when he finished ninth by 47 lengths in the March 8 Gotham Stakes (gr. III). However, that race was unusual in that it was contested in a very thick fog.
“(Jockey Ramon) Dominguez basically pulled him up because he just was not handling that track,” said Fried. “He did not want to take a chance of getting him injured. Anytime you are in a race there are excuses, but there were excuses in both the Gotham and the Wood.”
Prior to those two defeats, Giant Moon sported a perfect record. He broke his maiden at Belmont Park at first asking last September and then came back to win the Sleepy Hollow Stakes a month later. He closed out his juvenile campaign with a victory in the Damon Runyon Stakes at Aqueduct and began his 3-year-old season with a win in the Jan. 5 Count Fleet Stakes over the same track.
“I think certainly as it turned out, the Derby would have been a very difficult race even if he had qualified for it,” said Fried. “Giving him the extra rest for the Preakness, Schosberg thought was a very good idea.”
Fried bred Giant’s Moon out of the stakes-winning Capote mare Moonlightandbeauty. Also a homebred for Fried, the dark bay or brown mare won $228,053 on the track, and Giant Moon, her first foal, has earned $223,535. The colt was given his name because of his size at birth.
Moonlightandbeauty is kept at Fried’s Buttonwood Farm near Rhinebeck, N.Y. He also has her dam, the graded stakes-winning Deputy Minister mare Stolen Beauty.
Fried bought Stolen Beauty for $30,000 from Parrish Hill Farm, agent for International Thoroughbred Breeders, at the 1990 Keeneland September yearling sale, and she went on to win the Demoiselle (gr. II) and My Charmer Stakes and finished second in the Astarita Stakes (gr. II).
Moonlightandbeauty delivered an Empire Maker colt March 19, and he has already been named Piscesbymoonlight. Stolen Beauty had a Pulpit colt April 22.