07/05/2007 11:00PM

Declan's Moon gets a win


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Declan's Moon, the champion 2-year-old male of 2004, ended a seven-race losing streak with a come-from-behind victory in an optional claimer at Hollywood Park on Thursday.

Declan's Moon has run near the lead in most of his races, and the style of his Thursday victory pleased trainer Ron Ellis. Ellis and owners Mace and Samantha Siegel are considering Declan's Moon for the $300,000 Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar July 29.

The Grade 1 Bing Crosby is run over six furlongs, and Ellis said he wants to keep Declan's Moon at six or 6 1/2 furlongs.

On Thursday, Declan's Moon ($3.80) closed from third in a field of five to win the six-furlong race by three lengths over pacesetter Wind Water in 1:09.45.

The optional claimer was Declan's Moon's first win since the Santa Catalina Stakes at Santa Anita in March 2005, his 3-year-old debut. His career has been plagued by injuries and poor form in the last few years.

After finishing third in an optional claimer here in May, Declan's Moon was found to have a breathing problem that reduced capacity in one lung to 80 percent under some stressful situations, Ellis said.

As a result, Ellis said that Declan's Moon's tactics would change for Thursday's race, and that the gelding would taken off the pace to make a late run.

"It was nice to see him finish a race," Ellis said. "It's a new ballgame for him. I was glad that we were able to take him back and that he responded.

"For me, it was mostly relief. He seemed to win with something left. I think we found a running style that he likes. It's a matter of running with that issue."

Santa Anita purse boost

Santa Anita announced Friday it will pay a retroactive purse increase of $1,590,000 to owners whose horses earned purse money at the winter-spring meeting earlier this year.

The retroactive payment was finalized after financial data from pari-mutuel handle throughout California and North America was computed, according to track president Ron Charles. When the meeting ended in April, Charles was optimistic that Santa Anita had underpaid purses by several hundred thousand dollars.

"We knew we would be okay," he said Friday. "It was surprising that it would be this high. We finished the meet very strong. We're all kind of surprised and appreciative that it came in so high."

Santa Anita ended its fall meeting with a record all-sources average daily handle of more than $11.8 million, a 1 percent increase over the 2005-06 meeting. The meeting was run without substantial rainfall, which can cause short fields and less attractive betting opportunities.

There is optimism that Santa Anita could show further growth next winter. The track is installing a synthetic racing surface on its main track, a Cushion Track brand surface. Synthetic surfaces have proven popular with horsemen, and Charles is hopeful that Santa Anita could have a larger horse inventory for its 2007-08 winter-spring meeting.

Consequently, the track could offer a purse increase before the start of that meeting on Dec. 26, Charles said.

"If the trend continues, and it's been such a positive trend of people exploring the possibility of bringing stables here, we may lean toward going a little higher" with purses, he said.

El Roblar out of Triple Bend

El Roblar, winner of the Grade 3 Ack Ack Handicap here last month, was scheduled to be withdrawn from Saturday's Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap because of body soreness, trainer Richard Mandella said.

Mandella said no specific injuries have been detected but that El Roblar could undergo medical tests.

"He's come up stiff and sore," Mandella said. "If we don't figure it out, we'll have to scan him."

El Roblar, 5, has battled minor injuries through his career. Owned by Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stable, El Roblar has won 5 of 12 starts and $299,946.

Tiago returns in Swaps Stakes

Tiago, winner of the Santa Anita Derby in April and the third-place finisher in the Belmont Stakes on June 9, will be favored in the $350,000 Swaps Stakes next Saturday.

Trained by John Shirreffs, Tiago, who finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby, probably won't have many opponents in the Swaps, the leading race for 3-year-olds on the main track of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting.

Other probable starters in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes over 1 1/8 miles are Albertus Maximus, Awesome Gambler, Desert Code, and Time to Get Even.

The $150,000 Sunset Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on turf is the main race July 15, the final day of the spring-summer meeting. The Del Mar meeting opens July 18.

Bred to win early

Winning runs in the family of Golden Doc A, a first-time starter in Sunday's fourth race. The 2-year-old filly is a full sister to the multiple winners Unusual Suspect ($179,376), Solid Fuel ($168,093), and Master Heat ($143,264).

Those bloodlines may not necessarily translate into a win for Golden Doc A on Sunday, according to owner-trainer Barry Abrams.

"If she breaks good, she has a shot to win," Abrams said. "I think she's got a lot of ability."

Golden Doc A has shown decent works, including a quick three-furlong work from the gate on June 21. Sunday's maiden race is run over 5o1/2 furlongs for statebreds and includes Barbara's Love and I Dig Her, both second in their June debuts.

Barbara's Love broke slowly and rallied wide on June 23. I Dig Her, claimed for $40,000 by Art Sherman, set the pace and was just caught, losing by a neck on June 14.

Abrams admits that he doesn't "really push" his 2-year-olds for their debuts, and that Golden Doc A is giving up experience to some rivals.

"As long as she breaks and isn't too wound up, she should run a good race," he said.

Arias sore after fall

Jockey Saul Arias escaped serious injury when he was thrown from his mount in Thursday's fourth race.

Arias was riding Social Slewpy in an $8,000 claiming race over seven furlongs when the 5-year-old gelding broke down badly at the top of the stretch. Social Slewpy was euthanized.

Arias was taken to a local hospital but was released Thursday evening. He was sore in his shoulder and an ankle Friday, but was expected to return to riding Sunday, according to his agent, Alex Procel Crowley.