Easy Drill for St Averil; Bound for San Felipe
by Margaret Ransom
Date Posted: 2/14/2004 4:39:10 PM

Santa Catalina Stakes winner St Averil worked five furlongs in an easy 1:02 over Santa Anita's fast main track Sunday morning, after which trainer Rafael Becerra confirmed that the son of Saint Ballado's next start would be the March 13 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II).

"He's going to start one month from today," Becerra said. "That's why I gave him a nice, easy work. We still have four weeks to get him ready. The important thing today is that he finished strong. He went the last quarter in :23 and one and galloped out strong. It was exactly what I was looking for today and as the race gets closer we'll turn it up a bit on him."

Stan Fulton's St Averil stamped himself as a leading early candidate for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) with his 1 ½-length Santa Catalina (gr. II) score. The lightly raced colt also finished second in the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) to the highly regarded Lion Heart in only his second career start. From three trips to post, St Averil owns two wins and a second for earnings of $188,000.

"I'm very happy with where he is right now. The main thing is to take it one day at a time and little by little. Hopefully, knock wood, we'll get him there in good shape."

Also working Saturday was Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) runner-up Minister Eric, who logged six furlongs in 1:14 4/5 for trainer Richard Mandella.

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