Starlight Stable and partners’ Monba, winner of the 2008 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, has been retired from racing because of an injury to his left hind leg. The 4-year-old son of Maria's Mon earned $669,034.
In his greatest effort, Monba rallied to win the Toyota Blue Grass by a neck over Cowboy Cal, with Cool Coal Man and Pyro also in the beaten field. The effort earned him a trip to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
“It was a great thrill to watch Monba run,” said managing partner Jack Wolf of Starlight. “From the time we bought him, we knew he was special.”
Bred in Kentucky by Mill Ridge Farm and Jamm, Monba was purchased by Barry Berkelhammer, agent, for $200,000 at the 2006 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale from Mill Ridge Sales, agent.
At 2, Monba won at Keeneland in his first start and at Churchill Downs in his next. He then finished fourth in the CashCall Futurity (gr. I) at Hollywood Park, won by Colonel John.
“Monba quickly demonstrated that he had talent that could take him to the highest level,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “He was an individual who could adapt to any kind of surface or pace scenario.”
Sidelined after finishing unplaced in the Kentucky Derby, Monba returned to the races this year. He ran third in the Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) and the Thunder Road Handicap (gr. III). In the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), he finished 1 3/4 lengths behind Einstein in a fourth-place effort.
Monba, who raced for Starlight in partnership with Donald J. Lucarelli and Paul Saylor, won or placed in five of 10 starts. He is out of the winning Easy Goer mare Hamba, a half-sister to grade I winner Secret Hello and grade II winner Silent Account.
Breeding plans are undecided.