11/18/2004 12:00AM

All eyes on Declan's Moon


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Declan's Moon was a surprise winner of the Del Mar Futurity two months ago, a victory that kept his unbeaten record intact after two starts.

When Declan's Moon returns in Saturday's $100,000 Hollywood Prevue Stakes over seven furlongs at Hollywood Park, the focus of the race will almost entirely be on him. A victory would keep him in the running for the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding 2-year-old.

Owners Mace and Samantha Siegel and trainer Ron Ellis opted to pass the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Lone Star Park in favor of the Prevue and the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity next month.

Ellis has no regrets about passing the Breeders' Cup and said that Declan's Moon has thrived in the two months since the Del Mar Futurity.

"It's pretty much gone according to plan," Ellis said. "I think he's bigger. I would think the two months have done him some good. He looks as good or better than he did at Del Mar."

Declan's Moon is a standout in the Grade 3 Prevue, which has drawn a field of eight. Declan's Moon is the only graded stakes winner in a field that includes Power Wave, the unbeaten winner of four races at Turf Paradise, including two minor stakes for sale graduates, and Beat the Chalk, who won the Barretts Juvenile at Fairplex Park in September.

The field also includes the impressive maiden winners Bushwacker, Megabyte, and Seize the Day; the European invader Southern Africa; and Twice Unbridled, the maiden who was seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Beat the Chalk, who most recently won an allowance race at Bay Meadows, and Seize the Day, who beat maidens by 11 lengths at Santa Anita last month, may contest the lead.

Declan's Moon led throughout his maiden win and stalked the pace in the Del Mar Futurity before taking the lead over Roman Ruler in the final strides.

There is nothing of the caliber of Roman Ruler in the Prevue Stakes, and that will make Declan's Moon a strong favorite.

Declan's Moon's early success has been a surprise to Ellis.

"I didn't think he would be this good until next year," he said. "He's surprised me with how precocious he was, which is a sign of a really good one."