"He worked very, very well," trainer Jeff Mullins said.
The drill, ninth-fastest of the 43 horses who went the distance on the day, was impressive, but Mullins was still unsure as to whether or not the Irish-bred son of Peintre Celebre -- Louju, by Silver Hawk would make the gate for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) on May 1.
"I still haven't decided," Mullins said. "I'll work him one more time on the 24th and make a decision then. If he goes, we won't ship in (to Churchill Downs) until the Wednesday before the race."Lyons, a former trainer who is now a TVG analyst, noted, "He's wisely being cautious because you obviously have to see how the horse trains out of his last race. It looks like he's been training well so right now everything looks good. But we want everything to go right and if it does, then we'll be there. It's going to be a lot of fun (running in the Derby), being able to assess your competition. It's going to be a great experience if we're lucky enough to make it into the gate."
Castledale, who was purchased privately by his current owners last year, has banked $559,623 of which $510,000 is graded earnings, assuring him a spot in the Derby starting gate. In addition to the Santa Anita Derby, the bay colt won the Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park in November and owns a career line of 10-3-4-1.
In other Triple Crown-related news, trainer Bob Baffert reported that Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) hopeful Odds On underwent surgery to remove a chip from his knee and would be sidelined several months. Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. II) also-ran Consecrate was declared off the Triple Crown trail after entrapping his epiglottis and subsequently undergoing surgery.
St Averil is likely to start. "I'm galloping him now and plan to work him Sunday," trainer Rafael Becerra said of the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) winner, who was a disappointing sixth as the 2-1 favorite in the Santa Anita Derby. "Things are moving the right way so far. If all goes well, we'll go. That's our thinking right now." Becerra said Tyler Baze would ride the son of Saint Ballado in the Run for the Roses. Santa Anita contributed to this report.
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