Updated on 09/17/2011 10:06AM

Buddy Gil upsets in San Felipe


ARCADIA, Calif. - The remarkable Santa Anita meeting of trainer Jeff Mullins hit its highest point on Sunday when his Buddy Gil upset such highly regarded Kentucky Derby prospects as Atswhatimtalknbout, Domestic Dispute, and Man Among Men in the $250,000 .

Buddy Gil, sent off at 9-1, bulled his way between horses in the final furlong and just did outlast the fast-finishing Atswhatimtalknbout to win by a nose under jockey Gary Stevens. Brancusi, a 48-1 shot who was coming off a victory against maidens, was third, another three-quarters of a length behind.

Logician, at 86-1 the longest shot in the 10-horse field, was fourth, and was followed, in order, by Domestic Dispute, Siberland, Man Among Men, Ten Cents A Shine, Flirt With Fortune, and Buckland Manor.

Buddy Gil ($21.60) was timed in 1:43.64 for 1 1/16 miles on a track that was rated good following the heavy rains that hit this area on Saturday.

Buddy Gil owned just two victories in six starts in the Bay Area before joining Mullins's barn a month ago. In his first start for Mullins, he rallied to capture the Baldwin Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course. The San Felipe was a significant step up in class, especially for a horse who was a distant seventh in the Golden Gate Derby only nine weeks ago. But the Mullins Magic struck again.

Mullins is the second-leading trainer at the meet, trailing only Bob Baffert, and has been winning with a strike rate of better than 30 percent. Many of his horses, like Buddy Gil, have shown remarkable improvement since joining his barn.

"Jeff has been hyping him to us since he got him," said Scott Guenther, whose Desperado Stable owns Buddy Gil in a partnership that also includes Charlie Johnson, Donnie McFadden, Tom Schriber(CQ), and Rogers(CQ) Seversen.

Buddy Gil, a 3-year-old gelding by Eastern Echo, has now won four times in eight starts.

Atswhatimtalknbout was an unlucky loser. He took the worst of a head bob, but his trainer, Ron Ellis, was happy with his performance.

"It's a tough race to lose, but in the whole scheme of things I'm hopeful it won't make much of a difference," Ellis said.

The biggest disappointment was Domestic Dispute, who flattened out after making a menacing move on the turn as the 2-1 favorite.

"I thought he would pick up the leaders easier than he did," said his jockey, Jerry Bailey. "When he didn't, I knew it would be a struggle after that.