03/10/2005 12:00AM

Declan's Moon has heat in knee

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Declan's Moon, the champion 2-year-old male of 2004 and the future book favorite for the Kentucky Derby, emerged from his victory in the Santa Catalina Stakes last Saturday with heat in a knee, trainer Ron Ellis said.

Ellis, speaking from his base at Hollywood Park, downplayed the situation and said that Declan's Moon was scheduled to return to the track for exercise on Friday.

"He's got a little heat in a knee," Ellis said on Thursday. "It's not a big deal. I think it's normal stuff. If I get worried, I might have it X-rayed."

Unbeaten in five starts, Declan's Moon is scheduled to make his next start in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 9.

Ellis said that Declan's Moon has been active at the barn in recent days, which he felt was a positive sign.