Declan's Moon set back again



Declan's Moon, the 3-year-old Maryland-bred who was the Eclipse Award winner as 2004's top 2-year-old and was a Kentucky Derby favorite before developing an injury after winning the Santa Catalina Stakes March 5, didn't return to racing as planned yesterday and probably won't run again until spring.

The gelded son of Malibu Moon will need more time before returning to racing, said trainer Ron Ellis, who has discovered the horse did more than develop a chip in his left knee last March.

"It's an issue with the top of his cannon bone that didn't show up when we found the injured knee," Ellis said yesterday by phone from Santa Anita. "After he started taking a while to warm up, we backed off on his training and now we've found the cannon bone injury by using a nuclear scan. The injected dye showed up on the cannon bone.

"He's back on the shelf. He's going to take the next two months off, and I don't think he'll run again until around April of next year. It's a real disappointment."

In March, Declan's Moon underwent surgery for the knee chip and was scheduled to return to racing in the Grade III Perryville Stakes at Keeneland yesterday.

Meetings continue

After a two-hour meeting between representatives of the Maryland Jockey Club and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, officials said there had been some progress on the 2006 racing dates issue.

"Is there a contract?" said MTHA head Richard Hoffberger. "No, but we've moved the ball forward."

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