Updated on 09/17/2011 10:15AM

Bleeding won't stop Buddy

Email
Horsephotos
Buddy Gil (left) and Indian Express slug it out in the Santa Anita Derby. Buddy Gil will ship to Kentucky April 15, said trainer Jeff Mullins.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Buddy Gil bled from his nostrils in the test barn following his victory in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby, which puts him on the California state veterinarian's bleeders' list but should not prevent him from competing in the Kentucky Derby on May 3.

"It was very, very minor. On a scale of one to five, it was probably one and a half," Jeff Mullins, the trainer of Buddy Gil, said Monday morning from Santa Anita. "I think what happened is he took a lot of dirt during the race. He coughed hard trying to force it up. When we scoped him, he had a few specks of blood - and a lot of dirt. We put him on antibiotics for a few days to make sure he doesn't get an infection."

Buddy Gill's victory came in the most significant Kentucky Derby prep race run last weekend. This Saturday, three more important races will be run. The Wood Memorial at Aqueduct features Empire Maker, the Florida Derby winner and current Derby favorite. The Toyota Blue Grass Stakes here at Keeneland includes Louisiana Derby winner Peace Rules and Risen Star Stakes winner Badge of Silver. The Arkansas Derby could have as many as 13 runners, including Sham Stakes winner Man Among Men and Tampa Bay Derby winner Region of Merit.

In the Santa Anita Derby, Buddy Gil earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 104. The three horses who were closest to him at the finish - Indian Express, Kafwain, and Atswhatimtalknbout - also are headed to the Kentucky Derby.

Buddy Gil, a 3-year-old gelding by Eastern Echo, was treated for Saturday's race with bleeder medication, commonly known as Lasix, or Salix. Dr. B. William Bell, the state veterinarian at Santa Anita, put him on the bleeders' list after observing him in the test barn.

A similar situation happened last fall involving Pleasantly Perfect following the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting. Pleasantly Perfect was prevented from running in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Arlington Park because Illinois rules bar a horse who bled from racing within 30 days.

But Kentucky offers reciprocity with the medication rules from the state where a horse previously raced. Under California state rules, Buddy Gil cannot race again until he works at least five furlongs, at least 14 days after the incident, under the observation of a state veterinarian.

That does not preclude Buddy Gil from working inside of 14 days, but the work would not count toward getting off the list. So Mullins has decided to work Buddy Gil at Santa Anita on April 14, then ship him to Kentucky the next day. At Churchill Downs, Buddy Gil will have two works before the Derby, the first of which will be to get veterinarian approval to run in the Derby.

"We'll work with the state vet in Kentucky," Mullins said, referring to Dr. Mitzi Fisher. "Dr. Bell told me what needs to be done. He has to work five-eighths in 1:03 or better, and not bleed. The state vet in Kentucky will have to fax a certificate to Dr. Bell, and then he can be removed from the list."

Mullins said the fact Buddy Gil won despite swallowing a large amount of dirt was further testament to the horses's tenacity.

"He has so much heart," Mullins said.

The two horses closest to Buddy Gil at the finish, Indian Express and Kafwain, are both trained by Bob Baffert, who has won the Derby three times in the last six years. Baffert said Domestic Dispute, who was fifth in the Santa Anita Derby, would not run in the Kentucky Derby. His next start might be the Lone Star Derby on May 10. Indian Express and Kafwain will travel to Kentucky on April 15 on the same flight as Buddy Gil.

Atswhatimtalknbout, the beaten favorite in the Santa Anita Derby under jockey David Flores, is scheduled to fly to Kentucky on Wednesday. His trainer, Ron Ellis, said the colt came out of the race better than the people around him.

"He's bright and happy. He's the only one here that is, though," Ellis said from his barn at Santa Anita. "He came out of the race great. He looks great. He feels good. He's eating good. I'm going to do some blood work on him, just to make sure there's nothing going on, but I don't think there is. He just threw in a clunker.

"He never looked like he was traveling all that comfortably the whole race. He also was a little flat that day in the morning. He definitely had less energy. The way the pace was, he should have moved up on his own, instead of David having to ask him. Maybe we'll look back and be glad he threw in this race now. Hopefully it's just a one-race thing. Secretariat got beat in the Wood; that's what everybody keeps telling me to cheer me up."

Also headed to the Derby is Ten Most Wanted, the winner of Saturday's Illinois Derby at Hawthorne. He got a Beyer Speed Figure of 110. However, Dynever, who got a Beyer figure of 101 for winning Gulfstream's Aventura Stakes in only his third career start, will bypass the Derby. Trainer Christophe Clement said the colt has not had enough seasoning to be rushed into the Derby.

"The long-term goal is the Belmont Stakes," Clement said from the Payson Park training center in Florida. "I'd like to run him once before then."

Fund of Funds, second in the Illinois Derby, and Supah Blitz, who was second in the Aventura, both are on the fence for the Derby, their trainers said.

In other Derby developments:

* Empire Maker was scheduled to take an overnight flight Monday to New York for the Wood. He worked six furlongs in 1:13 on Sunday at Hollywood Park.

* Peace Rules is scheduled to fly to Kentucky on Wednesday for the Blue Grass. He worked six furlongs on Sunday at Hollywood Park in 1:11.60, the best time of seven at the distance.

* Aristocat, Christine's Outlaw, and Eugene's Third Son all flew from Kentucky to Arkansas on Monday for the Arkansas Derby. Aristocat, who will be ridden Saturday by Rene Douglas, worked a half-mile in 48 seconds on Sunday at Keeneland. It was the best time of 45 at the distance. Christine's Outlaw worked five furlongs Sunday at Keeneland in 1:02.60.

* Man Among Men worked five furlongs at Hollywood Park on Monday in 59.80. He was scheduled to fly to Arkansas late Monday night.

* Trainer Todd Pletcher said he has not decided whether Lion Tamer will run in the Blue Grass or await the Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 19. He worked a half-mile Sunday at Keeneland in 49.60 seconds.

* A new possibility for the Lexington is Ministers Wild Cat, who was scratched from the Santa Anita Derby with a bruised right hind foot. "We put the shoe back on him this morning and took him for a trot," trainer Neil Drysdale said Monday from Hollywood Park. "He was sound. I imagine we'll look at the Lexington. Trying to run him back this weekend would be just too much. This way we can work him long here and then ship."

* Funny Cide (four furlongs in 48 seconds at Palm Meadows), Kissin Saint (four furlongs, 49 seconds on Belmont Park's training track), and New York Hero (five furlongs, 59.60 seconds at Aqueduct) all worked Monday for the Wood.

* Senor Swinger, who worked six furlongs in 1:11.60 on Sunday at Santa Anita, was scheduled to fly on Tuesday to New York for the Wood. Gary Stevens, fresh from his victory on Buddy Gil, has the mount.

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch