St Averil on California Trail, Becerra Says

Stan Fulton's Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) winner St Averil will continue on down the California trail to the Triple Crown, trainer Rafael Becerra said Sunday morning.

The dark bay or brown son of Saint Ballado -- Avie's Fancy, by Lord Avie came out of his first stakes win Saturday, only his third career start, in fine shape, Becerra said.

"So far, everything's great," Becerra said. "I'm really happy with how he's doing today."

According to Becerra, St Averil will most likely make his next appearance in the Mar. 13 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), followed by the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) 20 days later. However, Becerra says it isn't the most ideal situation for the colt.

"He needs time between his races," Becerra said. "I really don't want to ship him out of town and I don't want to cut him back for the San Rafael (a one-mile grade II test on Mar. 6) so I probably have no choice but to wait. Then it's just three weeks to the Santa Anita Derby, which is pretty close. I'll have to talk it all over with Mr. Fulton, but that's probably what we'll do."

Santa Catalina runner-up Lucky Pulpit was also in fine form Sunday morning, trainer Cliff Sise Jr. said. The chestnut colt finished 1 ½ lengths behind the winner at odds of nearly 19-1 and will most likely also head on down the Triple Crown trail.

"He came back in great shape," Sise said. "I have my eye on a couple spots, but nothing's definite."

Bobby Frankel said Master David came out of his third-place finish as the favorite in the Santa Catalina in good shape and will be pointed to the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream on March 13 .

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