02/11/2008 1:00AM

'Declan' faces tough foe in redrawn race

Email

ARCADIA, Calif. - Five days later than expected, Declan's Moon, the 2004 champion 2-year-old male, makes his 2008 debut in an optional claimer at Santa Anita.

The race was originally scheduled for Friday, a program canceled because track maintenance crews needed additional time to complete a much-needed renovation project on the synthetic surface.

The race was redrawn Sunday, with a major addition to the field - Street Boss, a promising 4-year-old colt trained by Bruce Headley, who was not entered last Friday.

Street Boss has won 2 of 5 starts, including a five-length victory in an allowance race at 5 1/2 furlongs here Jan. 17. He is eligible for a "nonwinners of two other than" allowance race, but is starting in a more difficult "nonwinners of three" race Wednesday. His presence against tougher competition is a sign of confidence from the Headley stable.

Street Boss has drawn post 3 and may go favored over Declan's Moon, who breaks from the rail. Declan's Moon is making his first start since a fifth-place finish in the Pirate's Bounty Handicap at Del Mar last September.

Shortly after that race, Declan's Moon underwent throat surgery to aid a breathing problem. Last week, Ellis said, "It's kind of a guess whether [the surgery] worked or not." He emphasized that the stress of a race is greater than what Declan's Moon experiences in workouts, leaving him unsure what to expect.

Declan's Moon has won 6 of 15 starts and $703,687 for owners Mace and Samantha Siegel. He has worked quickly for his comeback, including six furlongs in 1:11.80 at Hollywood Park on Feb. 1.

After Friday's race was canceled, Ellis worked Declan's Moon a half-mile in 47.20 seconds at Hollywood Park on Saturday. Ellis said the brief delay will have minimal effect on Declan's Moon's performance Wednesday.

"I wanted to keep him loose," Ellis said of the workout. The delay "didn't hurt us or help us."

Declan's Moon and Street Boss are expected to run from off the pace. Diamond Fury may set the pace in his first start since finishing fifth in an allowance race in February 2007.

Owned by Charles Fipke and trained by Bob Baffert, Diamond Fury was purchased for $2.7 million at the 2003 Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training. Now 7, Diamond Fury has won 3 of 15 starts and $127,640.