Two-time Maryland-bred champion Luna Belle began her next chapter at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale, held at the Lexington sales pavilion on Feb 5-6. The 5-year-old mare, consigned by Bill Reightler, agent, sold for $100,000, topping the Maryland-bred offerings at the sale.
Bred by the late Fred A. Greene Jr., his daughter Deborah and trainer Hamilton Smith, and campaigned by Deborah and Smith, Luna Belle caps her career with a record of 6-1-3 from 13 starts, with earnings of $391,680. The daughter of Great Notion was named Maryland-bred champion 2-year-old filly of 2021 following a season-capping win in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship at Laurel Park that December.
However, it was as a 3-year-old that Luna Belle's star shone brightest. She made waves both regionally and locally with a sweep of Laurel's stakes for 3-year-old fillies, taking the Xtra Heat, Wide Country, Beyond the Wire, and Weber City Miss by a combined 17 lengths. Off those performances, she was voted Maryland-bred champion 3-year-old filly.
Luna Belle raced just once as a 4-year-old, finishing third in the Maryland Million Distaff last October, rallying to finish 4 1/4 lengths beyond the winner, Intrepid Daydream. It was her first start since an 11th-place finish in the Black Eyed Susan-G2 at Pimlico in May 2022.
Luna Belle sold to JR Ranch, with Ramiro Restrepo, the co-owner of 2023 Kentucky Derby winner Mage, as agent. Restrepo told Blood-Horse that she will be bred to Mage for 2025.
Luna Belle is out of the multiple stakes-placed Mojave Moon mare Heavenly Moon. Fred Greene had purchased Heavenly Moon's dam, I'm in Heaven, for $45,000 at the 1997 OBS Open Select Two-Year-Olds in Training sale, and campaigned her through a four-race career that saw her win twice, including the Toddler Stakes, and earn $44,169. One of seven foals out of I'm in Heaven, Heavenly Moon has produced six other foals of racing age her own, three of them winners, including stakes-placed Moon Virginia (Jump Start) and The Poser (Bandbox). Heavenly Moon's most recent foal is a yearling full sister to Luna Belle, foaled on April 28 of last year. She was bred to Engage for 2024.
Six Maryland-breds, paced by Luna Belle, were offered at this year's sale, with four selling for a total of $121,000. This represents a dramatic increase from last year, when two sold for a total of $6,000.