Pleased Mullins Says Buzzards Bay to Skip Preakness

Trainer Jeff Mullins, back at his Santa Anita stable where he'll prepare Buzzards Bay for a probable start in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 11, said he took pleasure in seeing how well the much-criticized California contingent did against the best the East Coast had to offer in Saturday's Kentucky Derby (gr. I).

Giacomo, who was coming off a fourth-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), two lengths behind the winning Buzzards Bay, defied the racing experts and won the Kentucky Derby at odds of 50-1. Four horses coming out of the Santa Anita race were in the top six, including fifth-place finisher Buzzards Bay.

Mullins said he believes that in important races, the racing experts need to pay more attention to the horses and less time comparing numbers.

"I don't put any stock in Beyers (numbers)," Mullins said. "We liked our horse all along. He went into the race in good shape. I said before the (Santa Anita Derby) that if Buzzards Bay won he'd be the first one in history to do so with an 89 Beyer. I think my horse was the first horse to have ever beaten the two Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winners (Wilko and Sweet Catomine). Nobody remembered that.

"There was a lot of negativity toward the California horses. What's interesting is that it doesn't seem like they come west very often, but we sure go there and win our share. And what matters most is who cashed the check."

Mullins said he was thrilled at how well Buzzards Bay, the Fog City Stables-owned Florida-bred son of Marco Bay, did in Kentucky, beaten 6 ΒΌ lengths at odds of 46-1.

"I'm very happy with how he ran despite the fact he bled a little bit," Mullins said. "I'm also happy for John Shirreffs and the Mosses. They've been in this game a long time and invested a lot of money so it was great to see them win. If it couldn't be my horse I'm glad it was theirs."

Buzzards Bay, who returned to Southern California Monday afternoon, picked up $60,000 for his fifth-place Derby effort, bringing his bankroll to $619,440. Mullins said Buzzards Bay will definitely skip the Preakness and be freshened for the Belmont.

Also expected to skip the Preakness Stakes was Stonerside and Preferred Pals Stables' Whirlaway Stakes winner Sort It Out, who finished 17th in the Run for the Roses.

Sort It Out won the Whirlaway shortly before a majority share in him was purchased by Stonerside with a run in the Kentucky Derby in mind. The New York-bred son of Out of Place subsequently finished third in the WinStar Derby (gr. III) and second in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II), giving him enough graded earnings to make the Derby starting gate.

"He's not going to Pimlico," trainer Bob Baffert said. "We'll freshen him up a little bit and send him to Belmont and see how he's doing then. Maybe we'll run him in a New York-bred race, I don't know yet."