St Averil Sizzles Five Furlongs for Santa Anita Derby

Stan Fulton's St Averil, who just missed by a nose in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) in his last start, drilled five furlongs in :58 2/5 at Santa Anita Sunday, in preparation for next Saturday's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).

It was the second fastest of 43 works at the distance on a morning which saw 11 horses break the 1:00 mark, including a :57 2/5 drill by Devious Impact.

"Too fast," trainer Rafael Becerra said. "I was looking for a minute, but I got him in :58 flat. We'll see how he is tomorrow and see how he comes out of this work. He galloped out in 10 and change."

St Averil has won two of his four starts, with two seconds. After finishing second to Lion Heart in the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I), the son of Saint Ballado won the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II), defeating Lucky Pulpit, Master David, and Preachinatthebar, who just held on to nose out St Averil in the San Felipe.

Also working for the Santa Anita Derby was Quintons Gold Rush, fourth in the San Rafael Stakes (gr. II), who drilled a bullet six furlongs in 1:11 2/5 at Hollywood Park.

"It was just what I'd hoped for," trainer Mike Mitchell said. "He went evenly and finished well. I was very pleased."

The Bob Baffert-trained Totally Platinum, who will join stablemate Wimbledon in the Santa Anita Derby, worked six furlongs in 1:13 at Santa Anita.

In other Santa Anita Derby news, trainer Patrick Biancone said no decision has been made where to run Lion Heart. "He'll work five furlongs (Monday) and I'll talk to Michael (Tabor), Derrick (Smith), and Demi (racing manager Demi O'Byrne), and we'll decide after that," Biancone said. "When Eurosilver withdrew from the Blue Grass (gr. I), my people called and wondered if it wouldn't be an easier spot to run in Kentucky. You don't say yes or no to owners, you say, 'let's see how he works and then decide.' I told Wayne Lukas that there was a possibility we may go in the Blue Grass in case he wanted to wait a couple of extra days before getting a new rider (to replace Mike Smith) for Azeri (in the Apple Blossom-gr. I). The beauty of it all is that Lion Heart can't read the papers and isn't influenced by racing secretaries."

On the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) front, Harvard Avenue, third in the San Felipe; Mambo Train, winner of the Turf Paradise Derby; and Seattle Borders, second in the El Camino Real Derby, have been added to the list of probable starters.

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