Wilko, Declan's Moon Aimed for Futurity Clash

(from Hollywood Park notes)
Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Wilko could meet unbeaten Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) victor Declan's Moon in the $250,000 Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) Dec. 18, a race that would have major ramifications in determining the 2-year-old colt and gelding champion for 2004.

The English invader Wilko arrived in the Craig Dollase barn at Hollywood Park on Sunday afternoon, one day after posting a 28-1 upset in the Juvenile for trainer Jeremy Noseda at Lone Star Park in Texas.

J. Paul Reddam, Dollase's top client from Laguna Beach, bought a majority interest in the chestnut son of Awesome Again  from Susan Roy before the Breeders' Cup.

"He's acclimated well so far," said Dollase Wednesday. "We'll take him to the track in a few days. He's got a real good demeanor about him."

"There is a good possibility he will run in the Futurity," continued Dollase. "Just winning the Breeders' Cup might not be enough to win the Eclipse Award. That's a big reason for running in the Futurity."

Wilko would become the first Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner to run in the 1 1/16-mile Futurity since Brocco was upset by Valiant Nature in 1993.

Ron Ellis, trainer of Declan's Moon, is itching for a shot at Wilko in the Futurity. "If we beat Wilko, we have a claim to win the national title," said Ellis. The gelding has not raced since edging Roman Ruler in stakes record time in the seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) on Sept. 8.

Declan's Moon, unbeaten in two starts for Mace and Samantha Siegel's Jay Em Ess Stable, is scheduled to return in the seven-furlong Hollywood Prevue Stakes on Nov. 20 as a prep for the Futurity. Victor Espinoza retains the mount.

"He's doing really good," said Ellis. "He just worked six furlongs in 1:13 and change breezing the other day and will work again the next two Saturdays. He's right on target.

"He's had time and he's bounced back," continued Ellis. "If the Del Mar Futurity had not been such a hard race, I would have gone to the Norfolk and the Breeders' Cup. I had to alter plans a little, and the timing of this comes up very good. The Hollywood Futurity has a great record for horses that have gone on to the Triple Crown races."