Moonist to Scratch from So Cal Derby Trials

Gelding already has a record four derby wins at Los Alamitos.

News Release

Moonist will not run in Sunday's Southern California Derby trials.

Ron and Jeryl Hartley’s Moonist, the winner of a record four derbies at Los Alamitos this season, will be scratched out of Sunday’s trials to the $145,850 Southern California Derby (G1) according his trainer John Cooper.

“Moonist will not run,” Cooper said. “He has a bruised foot. It just happened overnight. Just one of them deals. I could run him through there, but that wouldn’t be the best thing for Moonist. I would want it to be that if they beat him it’s because they can and not because I did something that got him beat. I called Ronnie Hartley and told them about the foot. He just said, ‘Do what you’ve got to do.’”

Hartley added that there are many great options still ahead for Moonist in the months to come. Both Hartley and Cooper did not rule out having Moonist back in action as early as the $100,000 Christmas Invitational for 3-year-olds and up on Saturday, December 13.

“We could have run him in these trials and John left it up to me to decide,” Hartley said. “He said ‘he can run and probably will perform well,’ but we have to protect the horse. I told him ‘let’s not take a chance.’ I know how much John loves the horse. He wouldn’t want to run him unless he was 110 percent. Moonist can run in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship and the Vessels Maturity during the first part of year and if he is dealing with something very minor then we still have the Christmas Invitational to think about.”

“He will be better by (December 13),” Cooper said. “If I had another week before the Southern California trials then maybe I could do something. We had the best of intentions to run him and I hate to miss this one. Maybe it’s for the best. He’s had a pretty good year. He’ll be back as a 4-year-old. There’ll be lots of races for him next year.”

Moonist has won nine of 10 starts and $357,358 in 2014. The Separatist gelding has also won his last eight stars including the El Primero Del Ano Derby (G3), Governor’s Cup Derby (RG3), Golden State Derby (G1), and the PCQHRA Breeders’ Derby. He was looking to win an unprecedented fifth derby win of the season. Cooper did not rule the possibility that Moonist could run again this year, maybe even in the $100,000 Christmas Invitational against older horses on Saturday, December 13.

“He’s still in contention for a 3-year-old title, but we don’t want to run him when we know that something is wrong. We don’t want to make it worst. He’s got a great future ahead.”

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