Buddy Gil Headed for Wickerr Handicap

Grade I winner Buddy Gil will return to the grass for the first time since winning last year's Baldwin Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Santa Anita in the $75,000 Wickerr Handicap at Del Mar, trainer Jeff Mullins said.

The Wickerr is a one-mile turf event for 3-year-olds to be contested on July 31.

Buddy Gil, a 4-year-old son of Eastern Echo worked a bullet five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 under exercise rider Wendy Stone at Del Mar on Saturday morning.

"I can't get over it (how good he worked)," Stone enthused after the move.

Buddy Gil, who is owned by the partnership of Billingsley Creek Ranch and Desperado Stables, et al, won the 2003 Baldwin in what was his first graded stakes score before going on to capture the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and finish sixth in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The bay gelding subsequently underwent surgery to remove chips from a knee and has only managed one win in five starts since.

"We've always had a return (to the grass) as part of the plan for him," Mullins said.

Buddy Gil, who also won last year's San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), has banked $784,070 from a record of 15-6-2-1.