Buddy Gil, breezing under jockey Gay Stevens.

Buddy Gil, breezing under jockey Gay Stevens.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Stevens Says It's 'Up to the Derby Gods' With Buddy Gil

Desperado Stable's Santa Anita Derby winner Buddy Gil turned in his final prep for Saturday's Kentucky Derby when he worked five furlongs in :59 3/5 at Churchill Downs on Monday. The breeze left jockey Gary Stevens and trainer Jeff Mullins both expressing confidence heading into the season's first classic for 3-year-olds.

"He is dead fit," Stevens said. "I just hope Saturday he is like he was today. It's up to the Derby gods now. I would expect him to be forwardly placed. He has good tactical speed and nothing seems to bother him. Hes got a definite aura about him. Hes pretty special. We just hope everything stays the way it is. My job is done now."

"I liked it," Mullins said of the work. "The horse is doing really well right now. He loves the racetrack. As long as we can hold him together were in good shape. As long as he stays healthy he's going to give 100%. It's not always the best horse that wins, but the best horse on that day."

A gelded son of Eastern Echo, Buddy Gil is undefeated in three starts since being transferred to Mullins' barn. He began the win skien with a two-length triumph in the grade III Baldwin Stakes, followed by a noise victory over Atswhatimtalknbout in the grade II San Felipe. In the April 5 Santa Anita Derby, the gelding posted a game head win over Indian Express.