12/07/2004 12:00AM

Futurity's leading trio dodge rain

Proud Accolade, winning the Champagne, had a bullet work Tuesday.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Taking advantage of a dry morning, the top three candidates for the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 18 - Declan's Moon, Proud Accolade, and Wilko - were given important workouts at Hollywood Park on Tuesday.

All three have a shot to clinch the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding 2-year-old male with a win in the Futurity.

In a 90-minute span, Proud Accolade worked five furlongs in 59 seconds, the fastest of 49 recorded works at the distance. Wilko worked seven furlongs in 1:26.60, the fastest of two works. Declan's Moon worked a mile in 1:44.80, the only workout over that trip.

The track was listed as good following rain on Sunday. Further rain was expected later on Tuesday.

Proud Accolade, the winner of the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park in October for Padua Stable, worked in company with stablemate Essence, the winner of the Anne Arundel Stakes at Pimlico on Nov. 20. Starting two lengths behind Essence, Proud Accolade drew within a length of Essence entering the stretch and finished a half-length behind the 3-year-old filly.

Proud Accolade did not wear blinkers during the workout, but will wear them in the Hollywood Futurity, run over 1 1/16 miles. On Nov. 30, Proud Accolade worked five furlongs in 58.40 while wearing blinkers. That time was faster than trainer Todd Pletcher would have preferred.

"He was too eager with blinkers," said Michael McCarthy, Pletcher's assistant.

McCarthy timed Proud Accolade galloping out six furlongs in 1:12.20 on Tuesday.

"In hindsight, the track is a little heavy," McCarthy said.

Proud Accolade was sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, a race won in an upset by English invader Wilko. After that race, Wilko was sent to trainer Craig Dollase.

Tuesday, Wilko was ridden by jockey Corey Nakatani, who has the mount in the Futurity. Dollase timed Wilko in 1:26.48, with a final quarter-mile in 23.80.

"I was very pleased," Dollase said. "I'm glad the weather cleared up. I was getting nervous.

"Corey said he's very push-button," the trainer added. "When he asked him, he punched it in."

Declan's Moon, the undefeated winner of two stakes, was given a slow mile on purpose, trainer Ron Ellis said. Clockers timed Declan's Moon's final quarter-mile in 25.20 seconds.

"I wanted to make sure he would relax," Ellis said. "He did that and he had his ears pricked the whole way."

The Futurity will mark Declan's Moon's first start at 1 1/16 miles.

Other probable starters include Bushwacker, Chips Are Down, General Jumbo, Lucky Bid, Southern Africa, and Sunny Sky.