Declan's Moon's victory clinches Eclipse


Maryland-bred Declan's Moon clinched the Eclipse Award as outstanding 2-year-old male yesterday with an impressive victory in the Hollywood Futurity at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif.

The gelded son of Malibu Moon and 8-year-old mare Vee Vee Star won for the fourth time in as many starts. Three of the victories were in graded stakes. The Hollywood Futurity, worth $449,500, was a Grade I.

The flawless record secures Declan's Moon the 2-year-old championship for males -- although votes still have to be cast -- and a leading role in the new year as an early favorite for the Kentucky Derby.

Josh Pons and his wife, Ellen, flew from Maryland to California to watch the race. Pons and his brother, Mike, operate Country Life Farm near Bel Air, where Malibu Moon stood for four seasons until relocating last year to Kentucky. The Ponses retained 25 percent ownership.

"For him to go around two turns for the first time and still have gas in the tank, that was pretty impressive," Josh Pons said. "It was a real learning experience for him."

Brice Ridgely bred Declan's Moon and sold him for $125,000 last year at Timonium. He and his wife, Mary Anne, own Spring Meadow Farm in Howard County and still own Vee Vee Star.

As the 6-5 favorite, Declan's Moon won by a length after repelling a challenge by Wilko, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner, around the far turn. The 15-1 Giacomo nipped Wilko, 5-2, at the wire for second. Proud Accolade, the 2-1 second choice, finished fifth.

Declan's Moon paid $4.40 to win. He completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1 minute, 41.63 seconds. It was his first race farther than seven furlongs, and he gave the impression that with experience he could improve and play a major role in the spring's Triple Crown series.

Calder Race Course: Dreadnaught, trained by Tom Voss at his Atlanta Hall Farm in Monkton, closed with a rush, winning the $200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap for males 3 and older in Miami.

Dreadnaught won the 1 1/2 -mile race on the grass in 2:26 3/5.

Arvada, ridden by Edgar Prado, won the 1 1/2 -mile, $200,000 La Prevoyante Handicap for mares and fillies on the grass in 2:27; Pies Prospect took the $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap in 1:50 3/5, and Medallist romped in the $100,000 Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap in 1:22 3/5.

Aqueduct: Rare Gift scored a six-length victory over Board Elligible in the 134th running of the Grade III, $108,000 Ladies Handicap for 3-year-old-and-up fillies and mares in New York, covering 1 1/4 miles in 2:05 2/5.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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