05/28/2011 2:22PM

Belmont Stakes: Santiva works five furlongs, still not fully committed to race

Barbara D. Livingston
Santiva is probable for the Belmont Stakes but the Ohio Derby is stilll a possibility.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Santiva warmed up for a probable start in the 143rd Belmont Stakes by breezing five furlongs Saturday morning at Churchill Downs, finishing in 1:00.60 over a fast track while in the company of stablemate Golden Gulch.

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Brendan Walsh, assistant to trainer Eddie Kenneally, was aboard Santiva for the work, which was the colt’s second since he finished a creditable sixth in the May 7 Kentucky Derby. Santiva worked a half-mile here May 20 in 49.80 seconds.

“I thought Santiva worked really well today,” said Kenneally, who briefly considered the Preakness for the colt before backing off. “He’s very fit. He went very nicely and didn’t over-exert himself.”

Golden Gulch also is a 3-year-old colt, albeit still a maiden after two starts. Santiva went easily in allowing his workmate to keep pace with him, as both were credited with clockings of 1:00.60. The six-furlong gallop-out time was 1:14.60.

Kenneally has the Ohio Derby next Saturday, June 4, as an alternative to the June 11 Belmont for Santiva, but said: “We are still playing it by ear in regards to the Belmont, but he will likely end up in the race.”

Kenneally had considered working Santiva on Friday, but rain throughout much of the week led him to wait for Saturday, when conditions were ideal.

Santiva, owned by Franklin, Ind., businessman Tom Walters, captured the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes here last fall for his only victory in seven career starts. In the Derby, with Shaun Bridgmohan aboard, he raced in mid-pack much of the way before closing mildly to finish 5 1/2 lengths behind the winner, Animal Kingdom.