(Edited press release)
Maryland-bred Declan’s Moon, the 2004 Eclipse Award-winning juvenile colt and early favorite for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) before an injury, has been retired from racing. The 6-year-old Malibu Moon gelding will be sent back to his native state to become a pensioner at the Pons family’s Merryland Farm.
“Declan’s Moon is a star, and he will be a star in residence at the Ponses’ farm,” said Mace Siegel, who with his daughter Samantha campaigned Declan’s Moon in their Jay Em Ess Stable silks.
Trained by Ron Ellis, Declan’s Moon was undefeated in his first five races, clinching his Eclipse Award with a win over 2004 Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Wilko in the late-season Hollywood Futurity (gr. I).
He won his first start at 3, the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita, and was the pro-tem favorite for the Kentucky Derby. However, a non-displaced chip in his left knee knocked him off the Triple Crown trail. He never returned to his earlier form and retired with a record of six wins from 18 career starts and earnings of $705,647.
“Ron took great care of Declan’s Moon throughout his career, with always the horse’s best interests in mind,” said Josh Pons. “We are just taking over that stewardship.”
Declan’s Moon was bred by A. Brice Ridgely and was foaled at Ridgely’s Spring Meadow Farm.
“It’s a point of pride for Brice and for Merryland to bring Declan’s Moon back home,” Pons said. “Mace and Samantha have been buying top racehorses as yearlings in Maryland for many years, and their thoughtfulness in sending Declan back home is much appreciated by all the racing fans in Maryland.”
The Seigels bought Declan’s Moon from his breeder at the 2003 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall yearling sale for $125,000.
“He will be a marquee retiree,” Pons said. “He’ll have a life of leisure and will reside alongside Malibu Moon’s first stakes winner, Perfect Moon, who was also a California stakes star, in the paddocks we reserve for retired racehorses. We might teach him to be the lead pony for the young horses at our Merryland Farm training center. It’s a storybook ending for a champion.”