“He is a dandy,” John Cooper would often say following a win by his great trainee, Moonist.
On Wednesday morning, one day after the multiple AQHA Champion Moonist was euthanized on Tuesday evening after complications from colic, Cooper talked about the great, four-time champion.
“I’ll remember the good times, and (Moonist) gave us a lot of those,” the trainer said. “It’ll be hard to look at that stall without him.”
Cooper, however, was “still in shock” at losing the “dandy” Moonist.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “He had never been sick before. He wasn’t feeling himself and we didn’t know for sure what was bothering. We treated him at the barn, but it didn’t help so we took him to the clinic.”
Cooper explained that Moonist’s conditioned worsened by the hour. Veterinarians performed emergency surgery and found bleeding in his organs.
Steve Andersen of Daily Racing Form spoke to Cooper on Wednesday morning and wrote: “At that point Moonist had suffered internal damage and could not be saved, Cooper said.”
Bred by Vessels Stallion Farm, the 5-year-old Moonist was named the champion aged gelding and overall champion aged horse in 2015 and 3-year-old and champion 3-year-old gelding in 2014. He won 24 of 34 career starts and earned $878,468 while making everyone one of his starts at Los Alamitos Race Course. Sired by Separatist and out of the great broodmare Your First Moon, Moonist is one of only eight Quarter Horse to reach 12 stakes victories at Los Alamitos. He would have been the heavy favorite to add to his stakes win total when he headlined a field to the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity on Sunday, July 3. His final stakes win came on February 15 when he outdueled World Champion Heza Dasha Fire in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship in one of the most exciting races in the history of Los Alamitos Race Course.
Moonist became the first horse to win four derbies in a single year at Los Alamitos in 2014 when scoring in the El Primero Del Ano Derby, Governor’s Cup Derby, Golden State Derby, and Southern California Derby. He also ran in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby and qualified to the Southern California Derby. As a 4-year-old last year, Moonist won five races including the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap, Grade 1 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship, and the Restricted Grade 1 Robert L. Boniface California Breeders Championship Handicap. He ran second to Heza Dasha Fire in the Grade 1 Champion of Champions.
“It’ll be tough to walk by his stall,” Cooper said. “He was in that same stall for five years and he loved that stall. He loved being at the racetrack. He loved life at the track. I talked to Ron Hartley at 11:30 p.m. (on Tuesday night) and it was tough. It’s very tough. Sometimes you need a little bit of time before you can say anything. I think of Moonist as the John Henry of Quarter Horse racing. That’s how I see him. He’ll be missed.”
Here’s a selection of tweets this morning on Twitter on Moonist’s passing:
Ed Burgart@qheddie Condolences to connections of champion Moonist, euthanized last night due to complications from colic.
AQHA Racing @AQHARacing 18m18 minutes ago
AQHA Racing Retweeted Ed Burgart
TVG @TVG 2h2 hours ago
What a career... Condolences to all on the passing of Moonist... #Champion
Britney Eurton @BritneyEurton 3h3 hours ago
Peter Berry @peterberry57 2h2 hours ago
Peter Berry Retweeted Ed Burgart
A true legend and so much fun to watch. Rest in Peace.
José A Contreras @LosPonies 2h2 hours ago
Hard to put it into words what losing Moonist compares to in the Thoroughbred world. It truly is devastating news to the QH world.
Teresa Del @horseychickstar 2h2 hours ago
I'm so sorry to hear about moonist @cdajock my heart goes out to you & his connections ...what a fan favorite he was