05/07/2007 12:00AM

River Savage surprises at Hollywood

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River Savage, whose recent workouts had left trainer A.C. Avila miserable, pulled an upset in Sunday's $107,300 Hawthorne Handicap at Hollywood Park.

River Savage had worked slowly on Hollywood Park's synthetic track twice in late April, and Avila felt he was gambling by starting her in the Grade 3 race. He was delighted to be wrong about the outcome.

Ridden by Omar Berrio, River Savage ($21.20) fought for the lead throughout the 1o1/16 miles and pulled clear in the final sixteenth to win by two lengths over the 6-5 favorite, Cantabria.

"That surprised me because her works have been terrible," Avila said. "I still don't have any idea why."

Ballado's Thunder finished third in the field of six fillies and mares. River Savage covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.08.