Former Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contender Buddy Gil is back in training at Churchill Downs under the care of trainer Bill Mott, nearly 20 months since his last start.The 6-year-old Eastern Echo gelding won the 2003 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and finished sixth to Funny Cide in the Kentucky Derby. Jeff Mullins formerly trained Buddy Gil.Owned by Billingsley Creek Ranch, Desperado Stables, Inc., Merrill Stables, and others, Buddy Gil has not run since a fourth-place finish in a 6 ½-furlong allowance race on Santa Anita Sept. 30, 2004. The veteran campaigner has undergone three knee operations since that race, but Kenny McCarthy, the assistant who oversees Mott's Churchill Downs operation, said Buddy Gil is doing well in this spring's comeback bid."With the schedule he's on now, you'd think that maybe he might be ready to run by the end of the meet," said McCarthy. "He seems good out there, and he's training well."Buddy Gil, who spent time on an Idaho ranch rehabilitating for his return to racing, has turned in three works since his arrival at Churchill Downs. Those moves include a pair of three furlong moves – one a "bullet" move of :35 2/5 over a "good" track on May 11 that was the fastest of 14 at the distance. He also breezed four furlongs in :50 over a fast track May 18."He was pretty sharp in those three-eighths and was feeling good and full of himself," said McCarthy. "You figure two halves and two five-eighths (works), and he'll be getting pretty close."
Buddy Gil's career record stands at 6-3-1 in 18 races with earnings of $804,067.