04/09/2005 12:00AM

Buzzards Bay gives Mullins three-peat

Buzzards Bay with Mark Guidry up wins the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday at Santa Anita Park.

ARCADIA, Calif. - After a winter in which he became the poster boy for milkshake testing, then became an even more polarizing figure because of quotes attributed to him by a local columnist, Jeff Mullins had the last laugh on Saturday. He became the first trainer to win the Grade 1, $750,000 three consecutive years when Buzzards Bay held off General John B and Wilko after a prolonged stretch drive.

Buzzards Bay also provided sweet redemption for the Fog City Stable of owners Bill Bianco and David Shimmon, whose best 3-year-old prospect, Roman Ruler, went to the sidelines with a foot injury last month. And Buzzards Bay gave veteran jockey Mark Guidry his biggest victory since moving his tack to California at the beginning of Santa Anita's meeting.

Buzzards Bay ($62.20) won by a half-length, with 64-1 shot General John B finishing a nose in front of Wilko. Giacomo was fourth, the filly Sweet Catomine fifth, and Don't Get Mad sixth in the field of 11.

Sweet Catomine was sent off as the even-money favorite, but came up flat in the stretch run while facing males for the first time.

"I thought I was in a good spot," said her jockey, Corey Nakatani. "The pace was slow. I got her out on the turn. Normally she just cuts, but at the five-sixteenths I had no horse left. Normally you ask her to go and she picks right up, but today she was flat."

After the race, owner Marty Wygod came to the press box and said that Sweet Catomine had bled in her final workout on Sunday and was sent to a vet clinic for the next 48 hours earlier this week. Wygod said he had contemplated scratching Sweet Catomine before the race. None of this was disclose by Wygod or trainer Julio Canani when asked specifically about the filly's condition on Wednesday.

Buzzards Bay prompted the early pace for the first quarter-mile and then was in front the rest of the way. He clicked off fractions of 47.32 seconds for a half-mile, 1:11.34 for six furlongs, and 1:36.45 for one mile before completing 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track in 1:49.18.

"This is the best feeling in the world," said Mullins, who won the Santa Anita Derby in 2003 with Buddy Gil and last year with Castledale.

Buzzards Bay, a colt by Marco Bay, was purchased privately in Florida after his first three starts. For Mullins, he has now won twice in five starts. He had finished third in the El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows on March 12.

"He bled up north," Mullins said. "I knew we just had to hold the bleeding. He made a move last time like he was going to win."