Updated on 09/17/2011 8:56PM

Fearsome foursome advance

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Declan's Moon (above) remains unbeaten by winning the Santa Catalina and earning a 96 Beyer. Trainer Todd Pletcher announced that Proud Accolade is ailing.

NEW ORLEANS - After a weekend in which four highly regarded 3-year-olds, including early Kentucky Derby favorite Declan's Moon, won stakes races in Arkansas, California, and Florida, the Derby scene now shifts to Louisiana, where on Saturday several horses looking to reach the upper echelon will compete in the Grade 2, $600,000 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds.

The Louisiana Derby is a wide-open race, made all the more so by the defection of likely favorite Proud Accolade, the winner of the Champagne and Hutcheson stakes. His trainer, Todd Pletcher, on Monday said Proud Accolade had spiked a fever over the weekend at the Palm Meadows training center in Florida.

"We'll wait and see when he gets well before we make any decisions on what's next," Pletcher said.

In his absence, the tepid favorite might be Kansas City Boy, whose second-place finish in last month's Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream was flattered by the victory of Holy Bull third-place finisher High Fly in last Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream. Kansas City Boy, trained by Ken McPeek, worked five furlongs on Sunday at Gulfstream in 58.20 seconds, the best time of 22 at the distance. Brice Blanc has the mount.

His rivals are expected to include High Limit (Ramon Dominguez the rider), Real Dandy (Donnie Meche), Scipion (Gary Stevens), Storm Surge (Jerry Bailey), Vicarage (John Velazquez), Wallstreet Scandal (Rafael Bejarano), and possibly Indy Storm.

Real Dandy, the second-place finisher in the Risen Star, breezed a half-mile in 49 seconds on Monday morning at Fair Grounds for trainer Steve Asmussen. Scipion, the Risen Star winner, worked one mile in 1:41 on Sunday at Santa Anita for trainer Patrick Biancone. He is traveling here on Thursday. Vicarage, trained by Pletcher, worked five furlongs on Sunday at Palm Meadows in 59.20. Wallstreet Scandal, with exercise rider Morna McDowall, zipped a half-mile in 47.40 on Monday at Palm Meadows, which was the best time of 27 at the distance. High Limit, Kansas City Boy, Vicarage, and Wallstreet Scandal, who is trained by Rick Violette, all are scheduled to fly here from Florida on Wednesday.

Rush Bay breezed six furlongs in 1:14 at Fair Grounds on Monday, but trainer Tom Amoss said he would pass the Louisiana Derby and look for another spot. Rush Bay is nominated to the Grade 3, $250,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 19.

The Louisiana Derby will have to be a corker to compare with the exhilarating results of last Saturday, when Afleet Alex, Declan's Moon, High Fly, and Lost in the Fog all continued to progress toward the May 7 Kentucky Derby.

Declan's Moon, last year's champion 2-year-old, remained unbeaten with his victory in the at Santa Anita, in which he received a 96 Beyer Speed Figure. His trainer, Ron Ellis, said Monday from Hollywood Park that Declan's Moon came out of the race "good, real good."

"Now I've got five weeks to keep him that way," said Ellis, who said Declan's Moon would move on to the Grade 1, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 9. "Everything's good. This puts him right on the schedule we want to be on. I like the timing. He's got five weeks to the Santa Anita Derby, and then four weeks to the Kentucky Derby."

Going Wild, who was second in the Santa Catalina, and third-place Spanish Chestnut are also scheduled to race next in the Santa Anita Derby.

High Fly's victory in the continued a strong spring for trainer Nick Zito, who also has Andromeda's Hero, Noble Causeway, and Sun King progressing toward the Derby. High Fly got a 99 Beyer.

"I'm blessed again to have this opportunity," Zito said. "As was proven last year, you can't have enough of them."

Zito had setbacks in 2004 with Birdstone and Eurosilver in the weeks leading up to the Derby.

Zito said both High Fly and Noble Causeway, who got a 96 Beyer winning an allowance race on Saturday at Gulfstream, would likely run next in the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby on April 2. Pletcher said Fountain of Youth runner-up Bandini would also be pointed to the Florida Derby.

The Florida Derby could also be on the agenda for Lost in the Fog, the fleet sprinter who earned a 105 Beyer for his victory in the Swale Stakes. His trainer, Greg Gilchrist, was to decide by Tuesday whether to keep Lost in the Fog in Florida for a third straight race there, or return to his base in California and point for the Santa Anita Derby.

"If he ships, he's not coming back," Gilchrist said.

Afleet Alex got a Beyer of 106 for his victory in the six-furlong at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, in which he equaled the stakes record. Afleet Alex was ridden out an additional furlong to cover seven furlongs in 1:22.60, and galloped out one mile in 1:39.40, according to Oaklawn Park clockers.

Afleet Alex will return in two weeks in the Rebel, which serves as the final major prep for the Grade 2, $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 16.

Trainer Tim Ritchey said Afleet Alex was on schedule for the Rebel.

"This should set him up well for that race," he said. "He had two works before, and now he's got a race underneath him, which is a big thing. A race is worth about four or five works, so that puts him right on target."

In other Derby developments:

* Magna Graduate got a Beyer Speed Figure of 91 for his victory in the on Saturday at Turfway Park. The Battaglia is the major prep for Turfway's Grade 2, $500,000 Lane's End Stakes on March 26.

* The other important race this Saturday is the Grade 3, $200,000 El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows, which is expected to include Big Top Cat, Stellar Magic, and Uncle Denny.

- additional reporting by Mary Rampellini and Mike Welsch