Declan’s Moon, the 2004 champion 2-year-old, rallied under Jose Valdivia Jr. to win Thursday’s $55,000 allowance/optional claiming feature by a comfortable three lengths under jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. at Hollywood Park.
Sent off at odds of 9-10, the victory was the first for 5-year-old Declan’s Moon since March of 2005, and his first at Hollywood Park since he defeated eventual Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo, 2004 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) champion Wilko and highly-regarded Eastern invader Proud Accolade to clinch an Eclipse Award in the 2004 Hollywood Futurity (gr. I).
Declan’s Moon underwent surgery to have a bone chip removed from a knee after posting his fifth straight win in the 2005 Santa Catalina (gr. II). He was off 16 months before returning to the races with a second at Hollywood last July. The dark bay son of Malibu Moon was making the eighth start of his comeback in Thursday’s feature.
Declan’s Moon, owned by Jay Em Ess Stable, covered six furlongs on Cushion Track in 1:09.45 while paying $3.80, $2.40 and $2.10 as the odds-on favorite in the field of five. Pacesetter Wind Water, second under Joel Rosario, paid $3.40 and $2.20. The show payoff on Yes He’s A Pistol was $2.40.
The victory was the sixth in 13 starts for the Ron Ellis-trained Maryland-bred gelding. The winner’s check of $33,000 boosted his earnings to $721,900.