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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Juan Avila worked a pair of graded stakes winners, King Guillermo and Trophy Chaser, at Gulfstream Park on Tuesday morning in advance of Oaklawn Park’s stakes action this coming weekend.
King Guillermo covered 4 furlongs in :48.18 in his final local timed effort before shipping to Oaklawn Park for the $750,000 Arkansas Derby (G1). The race will be held on May 2 and awards the top four finishers with a total of 170 points toward the Kentucky Derby (G1) Trail, with 100 points to the winner, 40 to second, 20 to third, and 10 to fourth.
King Guillermo currently sits tied for seventh on the Kentucky Derby points leaderboard with 50, courtesy of his 49/1 upset victory in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) when making his dirt debut. The 3-year-old son of Uncle Mo has an overall record of 4-2-0-1 with $240,350 earned for former Major League Baseball All-Star Victor Martinez, who races under the name Victoria’s Ranch.
King Guillermo is expected to face several top 3-year-olds in the Arkansas Derby, including Nadal, who is one of the three tied with King Guillermo on the Kentucky Derby points leaderboard. Nadal is expected to be made the Arkansas Derby morning line favorite, thanks in part to having won the Rebel Stakes (G2) over the local course.
March 7 was a momentous Saturday for Avila, and not just because of King Guillermo’s toteboard-bombing victory. Avila also won the Challenger Stakes (G3) that day with Trophy Chaser, who posted a 4-furlong bullet work in :47.77, best of 17 to cover the distance on Wednesday. Avila owns Trophy Chaser under his JCA Racing Stable banner.
According to DRF.com’s Mike Welsch, both colts will ship to Hot Springs, Arkansas, once they finish their post-workout cooldowns. Trophy Chaser is scheduled to draw into the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2), which will join the Arkansas Derby on the May 2 card. Avila is expected to work each horse once over the local strip next week.
Following his Challenger victory, Avila indicated that he would entertain adding blinkers in hopes that Trophy Chaser would settle behind early speed. Other probables for the Oaklawn Handicap include fellow graded stakes winners Improbable, Combatant, Warrior’s Charge, and By My Standards.
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