As a racehorse, he showed early promise. But his career turned out to be very brief, lasting just two starts. As it turned out, he was destined to excel, doing so in the breeding shed.
Long before he gained fame for his prowess as a stallion, Malibu Moon was a new face on the Southern California racing scene. He made two starts in the spring of 1999, both of them at Hollywood Park. He did well in each outing, finishing second on debut before winning the next one. But an injury led to retirement, and Malibu Moon soon made the transition from starter to stallion.
Malibu Moon wasted little time getting on the map. He sired Declan's Moon, who went on to be named the Champion Two-Year-Old Colt of 2004 after an undefeated campaign that saw him win the Grade II Del Mar Futurity and Grade I Hollywood Futurity, among other races.
Also among Malibu Moon's successful early progeny were Perfect Moon, a multiple graded stakes winner in Southern California; Moon Catcher, a stakes winner back East; Frank the Barber, a minor stakes winner in California and New Jersey; and By the Light, who won stakes in Louisiana and New York.
Being a son of the legendary A.P. Indy, Malibu Moon was bred for distance as a racehorse. He never tried routing, however, but several of his progeny were successful at it. By the Light and Frank the Barber are examples of this, as are Bon Jovi Girl (2008 Blue Hen and Fairway Stakes winner at Delaware Park); Malibu Prayer (2010 Grade I Ruffian Invitational winner at Saratoga); Prospective (2012 Grade II Tampa Bay Derby and Grade III Ohio Derby); and Life at Ten (2010 Grade I Ogden Phipps Handicap and Beldame Stakes).
Malibu Moon's strength as a sire carried well into the 2010s. Gormley captured the 2017 Santa Anita Derby, while Ransom the Moon became only the sixth horse to win back-to-back editions of the Bing Crosby Stakes in 2017 and 2018. Stanford took multiple stakes across the East Coast while routing, coming up with the 2016 Grade II Charles Town Classic and Grade III Harlan's Holiday. Kauai Katie won graded stakes at two and three, and like Ransom the Moon did well with sprinting. Among her triumphs were the Grade II Adirondack Stakes in 2012 and Grade II Forward Gal Stakes in 2013.
But the horse Malibu Moon might be best known for is Orb. After mixed results at two, Orb went undefeated in his Kentucky Derby prep season en route to taking the spring classic in 2013 after rallying over a sloppy surface. Orb did well as a racehorse, finishing third or better in the majority of his starts.
The latter half of the 2010s saw Malibu Moon produce more graded winners in Magnum Moon (2018 Grade II Rebel and Grade I Arkansas Derby) and Come Dancing (2019 Grade II Ruffian and Grade I Ballerina Stakes), along with Gormley and Stanford, to name a few. He also found success as a broodmare sire, as Stellar Wind captured Champion Three-Year-Old Filly honors in 2015. A multiple Grade I winner, Stellar Wind captured the 2015 Santa Anita Oaks along with two renewals of the Grade I Clement L. Hirsch Stakes in 2017 and 2018, along with several other graded scores. More recently, he is the broodmare sire of Midnight Bourbon, who ran second in the 2021 Preakness Stakes.
Sadly, Malibu Moon passed in 2021 at the age of 24. He is missed, but he lives on due to his work as a stallion. He produced stakes winners, a champion, and had a long career as a stallion that is notable much like that of his own sire's. Not yet pensioned before his passing, there are additional crops coming, which offers the potential of furthering the legend. Given what Malibu Moon has already accomplished, it will not be surprising if more stakes winners follow.
While his career as a racehorse was certainly limited, Malibu Moon still managed to win races in Southern California as a stallion. In that regard, things worked out well for him. He was just meant to be connected to the circuit in some way.
That brief time where he competed proved to be a foreshadowing, for that early promise foreshadowed success. And Malibu Moon truly found success.