09/27/2004 11:00PM

Declan's Moon out of Juvenile


ARCADIA, Calif. - The fastest 2-year-old in the country will skip the Breeders' Cup and aim instead for the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity in December. Trainer Ron Ellis said Tuesday that Declan's Moon, who earned a 107 Beyer Figure beating Roman Ruler in the Grade 2 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 8, will be freshened for the fall meet at Hollywood Park, and return Nov. 20 in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue.

Ellis said he and Jay Em Ess Stable co-owner Samantha Siegel agreed the Del Mar Futurity was a taxing effort for a 2-year-old making his second career start, and that running Declan's Moon in the Breeders' Cup would be asking a lot.

"We just felt that to go ahead and fire another big effort might be too much too soon for a colt we want to have around next year," Ellis said. "Running that big of a race, it makes more sense to point toward Hollywood. This gives him a little time to recover."

Declan's Moon outfinished Roman Ruler by a neck in the Del Mar Futurity, earning the highest Beyer Speed Figure by a 2-year-old this year.

"If we keep knocking heads with that one, there's going to be nothing left of either of us," Ellis said, referring to Roman Ruler.

Ellis said that after the two fall races at Hollywood Park, Declan's Moon would return in late spring to aim for the spring classics.

Roman Ruler to get blinkers

Trainer Bob Baffert believes Roman Ruler is capable of better than the Beyer Speed Figure of 106 that he earned finishing second to Declan's Moon in the Del Mar Futurity.

"He wants to lay on horses - he was laying on [winner Declan's Moon] all the way," Baffert said. That is why Roman Ruler will add blinkers Sunday when he starts as the odds-on favorite in the Grade 2 Norfolk Stakes.

Roman Ruler wore blinkers in a team workout Monday - six furlongs in a bullet 1:11.60 - and he did it the right way, without leaning in.

"He didn't try to lay on horses at all, he just went about his business," Baffert said.

It is good news for Baffert and Roman Ruler, and bad news for the few that will challenge the 2-for-3 colt in the 1 1/16-mile Norfolk. As of Tuesday, only two others were confirmed for the Norfolk: maiden winner Littlebitofzip and maiden claiming winner Boston Glory. Norfolk nominee Houseofroyalhearts, who scored a smashing debut win at Fairplex, is sidelined with an injury.

Stage Shy out of Yellow Ribbon

The Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon on Saturday has lost one of its favorites. Stage Shy, a full sister to Geri whose impressive Del Mar comeback hinted she could become a major player this fall in the filly-mare turf division, will not be entered.

Trainer Neil Drysdale said, "She had a beautiful breeze on Sunday, but she was uncomfortable that afternoon." He added that X-rays revealed nothing, and that Stage Shy "needs a rest."

The absence of Stage Shy means Light Jig is almost sure to be favored in the Yellow Ribbon at 1 1/4 miles on turf. Compromised by a wide trip when she finished sixth as the favorite in the Grade 1 John C. Mabee at Del Mar, Light Jig will be the first Grade 1 mount of autumn for recent California arrival Rene Douglas. Other probable starters in the Yellow Ribbon include the Del Mar Oaks winner Amorama, Cozie Advantage, Good Student, Katdogawn, Noches de Rosa, Notting Hill, and Tangle.

Summer Wind Dancer at crossroads

Summer Wind Dancer is headed for the Cup - but which one? Trainer Jeff Mullins said that will be determined after she runs Sunday in the Grade 2 Lady's Secret Handicap.

"If everything goes well and she runs a big race, we're going to the Breeders' Cup," Mullins said. "If not, we'll stay here and run in the Cal Cup."

Freshened more than two months after winning the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap on July 18, Summer Wind Dancer faces four Grade 1 winners Sunday, yet their modest current form suggests Summer Wind Dancer may be the one to beat in the 1 1/16-mile Lady's Secret.

With a big effort in the Lady's Secret, Summer Wind Dancer would go in the $2 million BC Distaff; otherwise it is the $150,000 Cal Cup Matron.

In the Lady's Secret, Summer Wind Dancer faces Elloluv, who earned an ordinary Beyer Figure of 98 winning at Del Mar; Island Fashion, making her comeback after running 16th in June in Japan; Star Parade, fourth as the 9-5 favorite last out; and Victory Encounter, whose last two Beyers are 80 and 71. Nominees for the Lady's Secret include Royally Chosen and Dream of Summer, though both may skip the Lady's Secret and wait for the Cal Cup Matron. Musical Chimes came out of her last work with mucus and will skip the race.

Sweet Catomine looking sleeker

Sweet Catomine won the Del Mar Debutante even though her stablemate Proposed was more highly regarded. Proposed was compromised by a fast pace and is now out with a knee chip. Furthermore, the seven-furlong Grade 1 Debutante was believed shorter than Sweet Catomine prefers.

"That's right, because she's huge," trainer Julio Canani said. "She looks like a 4-year-old."

It means that Sweet Catomine will be right at home Saturday when she stretches out to two turns in the Grade 2, 1 1/16-mile Oak Leaf Stakes. Over the last two months, Sweet Catomine is looking less like a tank, and more like a sleek filly who remains on the way up.

"She had lots of baby fat, but now she looks racy," Canani said. Sweet Catomine worked four furlongs Monday, according to the trainer, though the work did not make the tab because of heavy fog. She faces a small field Saturday, when she will be co-favored with an impressive Del Mar maiden winner, Splendid Blended. Other likely starters include Fearless Flyer, a Grade 3 winner at Woodbine making her first start on dirt; the third-place finisher in the Del Mar Debutante, Hello Lucky; No Bull Baby; and Memorette.

Truly a Judge in peak shape

He might not be good enough to win the Grade 2 Goodwood Handicap on Saturday, but there will not be a sharper horse in the field than Truly a Judge. Winner of an Aug. 25 allowance race at Del Mar, faces a field that will include Hollywood Gold Cup winner Total Impact, graded stakes winner Supah Blitz, Lundy's Liability, Touch the Wire, Californian, and Gondolieri.

"My horse is very good right now," trainer David Bernstein said, while recognizing that Truly a Judge will have to run faster than the 99 Beyer he earned at Del Mar. It was his first win since early 2003, and the improved effort coincided with the removal of blinkers. "I thought the blinkers were hindering him. He got to where every time I put them on he would shake his head. He resented them."

Truly a Judge has won nine races and $477,531 from 38 starts.

* The unbeaten 2-year-old colt Chandtrue is scheduled to return to the track Oct. 15 after being turned out with minor ailments. Chandtrue won four starts during the Hollywood spring-summer meet, including the Grade 3 Juvenile, but scratched from the Del Mar Futurity.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman