09/02/2007 11:00PM

Ellis sees stakes potential in filly


DEL MAR, Calif. - A troubled third-place finish in the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap at Hollywood Park in July did little to diminish the potential of Theverythoughtof U, a 4-year-old filly trained by Ron Ellis.

Ellis expects Theverythoughtof U, a winner of 2 of 6 starts, to win a stakes, hoping to do so in Wednesday's restricted $85,000 California Equine Retirement Foundation Handicap at Del Mar. The CERF Handicap is one of two stakes on the undercard of the final day of the Del Mar meeting.

Owned by Mace and Samantha Siegel, Theverythoughtof U was beaten two lengths in the A Gleam Handicap after being stuck in traffic on the turn.

"I thought she was the best horse in the race," Ellis said. "She got stopped at the quarter pole and came back."

Avoiding traffic problems will be vital if Theverythoughtof U is to win the CERF Handicap, for fillies and mares at six furlongs. The race has drawn a field of 14.

"When I targeted this race, I didn't think there would be that much," Ellis said of the large field.

Theverythoughtof U has come from behind in all of her starts, never finishing worse than third. Ellis insists she can be closer to the front, if necessary. "She's had a little bit of trouble in her races, and she doesn't have to come from as far back as her form shows," he said.

Theverythoughtof U will need to fly through the stretch to catch Selvatica and Sindy With an S and hold off Ex Caelis. Selvatica, a four-time stakes winner, was sixth in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder on July 7 after a troubled start. She has drawn the rail in the CERF Handicap, which did not enthuse trainer Julio Canani.

"Oh, man," he said with a groan when he was told of the draw.

Sindy With an S, trained by the red-hot Mike Mitchell, won the Manhattan Beach Stakes on turf at Hollywood Park in June but was second in the Grade 3 Azalea Breeders' Cup Stakes at Calder on July 7. Mitchell expects a better race on Wednesday, but admits that Sindy With an S ran to her ability at Calder.

"I just got outrun," he said.

Ex Caelis won her debut for trainer Richard Mandella in an optional claimer on Aug. 1, and is seeking her first stakes win. She can be near the front or run from off the pace.

Pirate's Bounty: Declan's Moon drops

Ellis has the starting highweight in the $85,000 Pirate's Bounty Handicap in Declan's Moon, the champion 2-year-old male of 2004. Sixth in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Handicap here on July 29, Declan's Moon will carry 118 pounds against five rivals.

Since the Bing Crosby, Declan's Moon has had several quick works, which did not surprise Ellis.

"He couldn't be training any better, but that's the norm for him," Ellis said. "This is a pretty solid drop in class."

Declan's Moon, owned by the Siegels, will be trying to win his first stakes since the Santa Catalina Stakes at Santa Anita in March 2005.

Declan's Moon must beat two recent winners of optional claimers - Fly Dorcego, trained by Paulo Lobo, and Relato Del Gato, trained by Jeff Mullins. Fly Dorcego was a group stakes winner in Brazil last year.