Undefeated Declan's Moon is off the Kentucky Derby trail with a left knee injury and will be pulled from training for at least two months.
Trainer Ron Ellis said the injury was discovered several days after Declan's Moon won the Santa Catalina Stakes at Santa Anita last Saturday for his fifth straight victory.
The injury is not career-threatening, Ellis said yesterday from California, but "it looks like he'll probably be out of training for at least 60 days. And we don't have 60 days to spare." The Kentucky Derby is May 7.
Declan's Moon, considered one of the top Derby contenders, becomes the latest 2-year-old champion who couldn't win the Kentucky Derby. The last Eclipse Award winner as best 2-year-old male to capture the Derby was Spectacular Bid in 1979.
Ellis said Declan's Moon came out of his first 3-year-old race in great shape, but there was a "a little heat in his left knee, which is unusual for him.
"I just chalked it up to running a race, not a big deal," Ellis said. A few days later, X-rays were taken and "he basically has a small chip on the knee. But he's 100 percent sound, he's bouncing around the barn and came out of the race great physically and mentally."
Surgery remains uncertain pending more X-rays next week.
"I'm convinced everything he's done, he's done exactly like I wanted him to," Ellis said. "He's won all his races with his ears pricked and something left in the tank. I couldn't be happier with the way things went on Saturday."
Ellis still has a Derby contender in Don't Get Mad. "Now, he's turned out to be appropriately named," the trainer said. "I've been saying his name over and over."
Declan's Moon -- a combination of the breeder's 4-year-old grandson's Irish name and the horse Malibu Moon -- was purchased for $125,000 by Samantha Siegel and her father, Mace.
The 3-year-old gelding was 4 for 4 last year, including wins in the Hollywood Futurity, Hollywood Prevue, and the Del Mar Futurity.
Ellis' only Derby starter was Atswhatimtalknbout, who finished fourth in 2003.