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Buddy Gil back in Winner's Circle

June 1, 2004     E-mail this page to a friend!

Idaho Thoroughbred Assoc.—It took four attempts to get Buddy Gil back to the winner’s circle after his sixth place finish in last year’s Kentucky Derby, but on Friday, April 16, he finally got it done. He won the feature race at Santa Anita running a mile in 1:34.73, which is just a little more than a second above the track record. He was ridden this time by Alex Solis, as Gary Stevens is in France this spring and summer riding for a large private stable. Although the field was small, all of his opposition were former stakes horses.

Buddy Gil’s connections have reluctantly reached the conclusion that they do not have a mile and quarter horse that can run at the Grade I level against the best in the world, so they have decided to lower their sights, possibly ducking future Grade I events and shortening his races to a mile or a mile and one sixteenth. His pedigree does not even remotely suggest that he could compete at the highest level at the classic distance, but it took sixth place finishes in the Kentucky Derby and the Santa Anita Handicap—both $1,000,000 races at a mile and a quarter—to drive the point home.

His next start will be at Hollywood Park. The Grade II Mervyn Leroy Handicap at a distance of one mile and a sixteenth on the dirt is a possibility. It has a purse of $150,000. Races on the turf are also being considered in light of the fact that even though Buddy has only competed once on the grass (Grade III Baldwin Stakes), he did win and recorded his highest Beyer’s speed figure ever.

Buddy’s dam, Really Rising, had a filly by Roar on March 9 and she was bred back to Awesome Again on April 12. If she is in foal, she will be offered at the November Keeneland Sale. Buddy has now earned $768,455 with six wins in 14 starts. Buddy’s half brother, Och Tamale, by Caller ID, broke his maiden also at Santa Anita the day before Buddy’s race, winning by 6 1/2 lengths.