10/29/2004 11:00PM

St Averil vs. Quintons Gold Rush


The richest race on the Tuesday Election Day program at Churchill Downs is the ninth, a $65,900 four-other-than turf allowance for fillies and mares. But from a fan's point of view, it takes a backseat to the eighth race, a $54,900 second-level allowance at one mile, which has attracted Grade 2 winners St Averil and Quintons Gold Rush.

St Averil, who became a leading candidate for the Kentucky Derby following a victory in the Grade 2 Santa Catalina and a nose loss in the Grade 2 San Felipe, had his classic aspirations grind to a halt when he developed foot trouble after the Santa Anita Derby. St Averil trained in a bar shoe leading up to the Kentucky Derby, and was scratched on the eve of the race when his condition did not sufficiently improve.

Sent to Kentucky to recuperate, St Averil was later transferred to trainer David Carroll's barn at Churchill Downs. St Averil has been in serious training since September, and with a string of positive works behind him, should be tough Tuesday under jockey Larry Melancon.

Quintons Gold Rush, who earned a ticket to the Kentucky Derby by winning the Grade 2 Lexington, was eased when hopelessly beaten in the Derby. He, too, was rested over the summer, but his comeback effort in the Indiana Derby last month mirrored his performance on Derby Day. He was beaten nearly 43 lengths in a last-place finish.

Quintons Gold Rush, who finished ahead of St Averil in their only previous meeting, the Santa Anita Derby, will seek to make amends under jockey Pat Day.

In the ninth race, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the turf, northern California invader Cat Alert appears poised for a major effort. Previously a regular on the Kentucky circuit with trainer Frank Brothers, Cat Alert has spent this year in the barn of Jerry Hollendorfer. In five starts for Hollendorfer, Cat Alert has finished no worse than second, placing twice in stakes company at Bay Meadows in September. In her last start for Brothers, she won over the Churchill turf course.

Two graded-stakes-placed mares, Ocean Silk and Guana, appear to be the main threats to Cat Alert.

Post time for this, the only Tuesday program of the fall meet, is 12:40 p.m. Eastern.