Updated on 09/17/2011 7:02PM

Declan's Moon keeps rising in stature

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The victory of the unbeaten Declan's Moon in the Nov. 20 Hollywood Prevue Stakes has put the dark bay gelding on center stage among the 2-year-olds who will race for the divisional championship in the Hollywood Futurity.

Declan's Moon is expected to line up against Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Wilko and Champagne winner Proud Accolade in the Hollywood Futurity, and the outcome of this race may decide if any of them gets the Eclipse Award as leading 2-year-old colt or gelding.

Should Declan's Moon prove the victor on the racetrack and in the Eclipse voting, he would be the first gelded juvenile champion since Rockhill Native in 1979. And Rockhill Native was the first gelding to earn that honor since divisional championships began to be formally recognized in 1936.

Despite the lack of a stallion career in his future, Declan's Moon is showing the ability to perform at the championship level, and this illustration of racing quality is making the acquisition and relocation of his sire, the A.P. Indy stallion Malibu Moon, look inspired.

Malibu Moon, a dark bay horse, went to stud in Maryland in 2000 after a brief racing career. Candidly assessing the situation, not many breeders wanted to take a chance on standing a lightly raced son of A.P. Indy, even one who is as handsome as Malibu Moon. The family of Josh Pons took up the challenge, however, and put Malibu Moon to stud.

As is essential to any regional stallion with hopes of breaking into the big time, the first crop by Malibu Moon came out running, and the horse was called up to the Big Show in Lexington.

The Castleton Lyons operation of Irish airline magnate Tony Ryan purchased an interest in Malibu Moon and last fall moved the stallion from the Pons family's Country Life Farm near Bel Air, Md., to Castleton Lyons in Kentucky. Malibu Moon stands for the partnership of Castleton Lyons, Country Life, and B. Wayne Hughes.

Hughes bred and raced Malibu Moon, who had a win and a second-place finish from his two lifetime starts.

A foal of 1997, Malibu Moon is the first foal of his dam, Macoumba, by Mr. Prospector. Macoumba is one of five stakes winners out of the exceptional Green Dancer mare Maximova. Macoumba is also one of the mare's best offspring, as she won the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac at 2. Macoumba's son Septieme Ciel (by Seattle Slew) won the Group 1 Prix de la Foret and is the broodmare sire of the high-class racehorse Officer, now standing at Gainesway.

In 2003, Malibu Moon was represented by one of the year's leading 2-year-olds in Perfect Moon. Although he has not taken a leading role among the 3-year-olds this season, Perfect Moon at age 2 won the Best Pal Stakes and the Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes, and had thirds in the Del Mar Futurity and Norfolk Stakes.

In this year's Del Mar Futurity, Declan's Moon showed that he was the racer from his sire's second crop to continue carrying the banner. In that contest, the gelding hooked up against the highly talented and imposing Fusaichi Pegasus colt Roman Ruler. The pair turned in a tremendous performance, with Declan's Moon earning a narrow decision over his favored opponent.

In winning, Declan's Moon instantly made his family more highly valued and set himself on the path to stardom. A winning performance in the Hollywood Futurity could define him as a champion.

Declan's Moon is out of the Norquestor mare Vee Vee Star, who was third in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico. She, like her son, is a Maryland-bred and was acquired as a yearling by Brice Ridgely. He bred the mare to Malibu Moon when the stallion's stud fee was $3,000 and sold the gelded yearling later named Declan's Moon to Jay Em Ess Stable at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic September yearling auction. The sale price of $125,000 made Declan's Moon the most expensive yearling by Malibu Moon in 2003.

Declan's Moon is the second foal of his dam, and Vee Vee Star has a yearling colt by Unbridled Jet and a weanling colt by Partner's Hero. An 8-year-old mare, Vee Vee Star is expected to return in 2005 to Malibu Moon, now standing for $17,500 live foal.