04/28/2007 11:00PM

Teuflesberg in five-furlong move at Churchill

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Southwest Stakes winner Teuflesberg worked five furlongs Sunday morning at Churchill Downs for what his connections hope will be a start in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

With trainer and co-owner Jamie Sanders in the irons, Teuflesberg started slowly and finished well. Churchill Downs clockers timed him covering five furlongs in 1:00.80 after splits of 24.80 seconds, 36.80, and 48.60. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.80.

He is not assured of gaining entry into the Kentucky Derby. If more than 20 horses are entered in the Derby, which is widely expected, preference is given based on earnings in graded stakes. The maximum field size for the Derby is 20 horses, and Teuflesberg ranks 21st based on graded earnings.

He could get into the race if there is a defection from the prospective field before entries are taken Wednesday.

One candidate to bypass the race would appear to be Xchanger, winner of Tesio Stakes at Pimlico Apr. 21. His trainer and co-owner, Mark Shuman, said Friday the colt was unlikely to run in the Derby unless the horse was sold by the weekend. Shuman did not return phone messages left for him on Saturday and Sunday seeking an update on Xchanger’s status.

Sanders remained upbeat Sunday morning despite the uncertainty of whether Teuflesberg will make the field.

She had a right to be pleased with the workout. She said before the work she hoped he would breeze in about 1:01 with a strong finish. Within a fifth of a second, that is what he did.

“He felt like a monster underneath me,” she said. “He’s never been this good.”

If Teuflesberg does not get into the Derby, Sanders plans to run in an alternative Derby-week stakes race at Churchill Downs as a prep race for the May 19 Preakness. She said she would likely enter Teuflesberg for Friday’s Grade 3 Crown Royal American Turf as a potential backup race. Saturday’s Grade 1 Woodford Reserve, another grass race, is also under consideration.

Entries are taken Tuesday for the Crown Royal American Turf. The Woodford Reserve is drawn on Wednesday.