Mulhall Primed for Sunset Upset with Gulchie

Mulhall Primed for Sunset Upset with Gulchie
Photo: Skip Dickstein
Trainer Kristin Mulhall looks to repeat Sunset surprise of year ago.
(from Hollywood Park notes)
Trainer Kristin Mulhall, who posted a surprise victory with Puerto Banus in the Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT) last year, can spring another upset with Gulchie in the $150,000 Hollywood Park closing day turf test at 1 1/2 miles Sunday.

If any horse in Mulhall's barn owes her one, it is Gulchie. "In the Sunset picture last year, I had a cast on one arm to my shoulder," said Mulhall Thursday from her stable office.

"That was from Gulchie. I tried to get on him one morning a few weeks earlier and went over the other side. I broke my wrist."

Gulchie, a 6-year-old English-bred son of Thunder Gulch, will make his stakes debut in his second outing of the year in the closing-day feature. He returned July 2 with a fifth-place finish in an allowance race at 1 1/2 miles on turf following a nine-month absence.

"He came out of a race at Oak Tree in October stiff behind," explained Mulhall of the layoff. "He's a ridgling and had a problem with one testicle, so we took it out. We gave him 60 days off and brought him back.

"We were looking for something shorter than a mile and a half for his return, but nothing else filled," said Mulhall. "We knew he would get tired in that one."

Gulchie, a chestnut, has won only two of 20 races but finished second in two allowance races at Del Mar last summer behind Continuously and Runaway Dancer, the probable starting highweights in the Sunset.

Mulhall said Gulchie is a total contrast to Puerto Banus, who clicked at nearly 12-1 odds last year. "Puerto Banus is a giant. Gulchie is a midget," she said.

Gulchie is co-owned by Mulhall's Visionary Stable and Robert Wiles.

Argentine star Freddy drew the rail for his United States debut and will be ridden by Kent Desormeaux for trainer Donald Burke II. But he may not start, Burke has said.

Freddy, who carries the co-highweight of 116 pounds, won five of six starts in Argentina in 2002, climaxed by a 3 1/2-length victory in the prestigious Carlos Pellegrini Stakes (ARG-I) at the 12-furlong Sunset distance.

The Pellegrini was one of three Group I victories scored by Freddy, who also won the Argentine Derby on the main track.

Continuously, who won the 1 1/2-mile Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IT) on a disqualification in November, is the other top-weighted contender.

$150,000 Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT), 3 & up, 1 1/2 miles on turf
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Freddy (ARG), 116, Kent J. Desormeaux
2. Gulchie (GB), 112, David Romero Flores
3. Leprechaun Kid (KY), 114, Javier Santiago
4. Star Over the Bay (FL), 113, Tyler Baze
5. Runaway Dancer (KY), 115, Mike E. Smith
6. Continuously (KY), 116, Alex O. Solis
7. Gallant, 111, Martin A. Pedroza

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