Updated on 09/17/2011 7:08PM

Grade 1 with hefty bonus - an Eclipse

Proud Accolade on Thursday prepares for the Hollywood Futurity, a race that could decide the 2-year-old male championship. If Proud Accolade, Wilko, or morning-line favorite Declan's Moon were to win the race, the Eclipse would probably be locked up.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - It has been nearly three months since the connections of Declan's Moon decided to bypass the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and instead wait for Hollywood Park's fall stakes races, the Prevue and the Futurity. Since then, "everything's just gone totally according to schedule, which is rare," said Ron Ellis, who trains Declan's Moon.

Declan's Moon won the Prevue handily, then came back to work to Ellis's satisfaction.

"The race worked out like we hoped, in terms of the type of race he ran, and the way he came out of the race," Ellis said.

On Saturday at Hollywood Park, Ellis and owners Mace and Samantha Siegel will find out if their long-range planning has paid off, for not only is the likely hangs in the balance.

Either Declan's Moon, Proud Accolade, or Wilko could lay claim to the 2-year-old male championship with a victory in the Futurity. Five others entered the 1 1/16-mile race, which goes as the eighth race on a 10-race card that begins at 12:30 p.m. Pacific time.

Because Declan's Moon, General Jumbo, Proud Accolade, Southern Africa, and Wilko all had to be supplemented to the race for $20,000, the total purse is $449,500.

Declan's Moon has won all three of his starts. He defeated maidens at Del Mar in his debut, then upset pro-tem divisional leader Roman Ruler in the Del Mar Futurity before his victory in the Prevue. Saturday's race will be his first around two turns, and his first beyond seven furlongs.

"He's got a big, long, loping stride," Ellis said. "That's usually indicative of a route horse. He should have a great style going long."

Declan's Moon led from start to finish in his debut; in his two subsequent starts, he sat just off the pace before pouncing. Ellis envisions a similar stalking trip in the Hollywood Futurity.

"Bushwacker has speed, and Proud Accolade I would think would show speed since he's adding blinkers," Ellis said. "We should get a good trip, sitting third."

Proud Accolade is adding blinkers after suffering the first loss of his career in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, in which he finished sixth, five lengths behind Wilko. He won the first three starts of his career, at Saratoga and Belmont Park, including the Champagne Stakes.

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile was at 1 1/16 miles, the same distance as the Champagne, but it was the first time Proud Accolade had raced two turns. The Hollywood Futurity, like the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, is run around two turns. Proud Accolade needs to prove the Breeders' Cup was an aberration, and that he can handle two turns.

Wilko, who began his career in Great Britain, leaped into the race for an Eclipse Award by virtue of his 28-1 upset victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. That was his first start in the United States, and his first start on dirt. It was also his 11th start of the year. Because he has a chance to win the divisional title, he will be making his 12th start in 7 1/2 months.

Handicappers will also have to weigh whether Wilko can become one of the few horses who ran in this year's Breeders' Cup to perform well in a subsequent start. Several well-regarded Breeders' Cup runners, such as Blackdoun, Kela, Musical Chimes, Nothing to Lose, and Breeders' Cup Turf winner Better Talk Now, were soundly defeated earlier this meet, though Cajun Beat did win the Hollywood Turf Express.

"Looking at how those other horses who ran in the Breeders' Cup came out, you just have to turn the other cheek," said Craig Dollase, who took over as trainer of Wilko from Jeremy Noseda after the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. "I think he's had enough time." It has been seven weeks since the Breeders' Cup.

Bushwacker has wicked early speed and figures to lead early. He was second to Declan's Moon in the Prevue. Southern Africa was fourth in that race.

Giacomo was third in a highly rated allowance race earlier this meet. The winner, Texcess, subsequently won the Delta Jackpot, and second-place finisher Chips Are Down returned to win an allowance race here.

General Jumbo has one win in two starts against decidedly inferior competition in Great Britain. Lucky Bid will be hoping a pace meltdown helps his late kick.

The field

Hollywood Futurity
Purse: $449,500; 1 1/16 miles; Grade 1

1WilkoC. Nakatani3-1
2Southern AfricaT. Baze12-1
3Declan's Moon V. Espinoza7-5
4Giacomo M. Smith12-1
5Proud AccoladeJ. Velazquez 5-2
6Bushwacker R. Douglas6-1
7 General Jumbo D. Flores30-1
8Lucky Bid K. Desormeaux20-1

* All starters carry 121 pounds
* Odds by Art Gropper