Mr. Buff handled a cut back to a one-turn mile with ease, besting four New York-breds by an astonishing 20 lengths in Saturday's $100,000 Haynesfield at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by John Kimmel, the Chester and Mary Broman homebred broke sharply from his inside post under regular rider Junior Alvarado and led the strung out field with Syndergaard right at his throatlatch through an opening quarter-mile in 23.22 seconds over the fast main track.
Around the far turn, through a half in 45.76 seconds, Mr. Buff extended his advantage as Syndergaard began to falter with Honor Up making up ground.
Honor Up finished second; a length ahead of Syndergaard.
Twisted Tom and Fleet Irish rounded out the order of finish. I Love Jaxson was scratched.
Mr. Buff was cutting back in distance from a repeat win in the 1 1/8-mile Jazil on January 25.
Alvarado, who has been aboard Mr. Buff for three of the jockey's four stakes wins this meet, said he wanted his mount to be as sharp as possible out of the gate.
“Just because it's a mile race, I was going to get out of there gunning,” Alvarado said. “I was going to go no matter what [post] position I was in at the beginning.
“Coming from a mile and an eighth race, I didn't want him to fall into a slow rhythm at the beginning. I just wanted to make sure I got him sharp out of there. He's such a cool horse and knows what to do. You just nudge him a little out the gate and he knew what he was supposed to do.
“At the quarter-pole, I asked him a little and he took off again,” Alvarado continued. “He gave me the extra kick. He's just a fast horse. It's simple.”
Kimmel was highly impressed with what he saw out of Mr. Buff, who won his eighth stakes race and pushed his lifetime earnings up to millionaire status with $1,051,536 in the bank.
“He really put that group away easily. I don't know what the speed figures will be, but he was geared down right to the wire. I haven't seen a mile race run in 1:36 in a while,” Kimmel said.
As far as future plans are concerned, Kimmel neither ruled out a return to graded stakes company or shipping out of state.
Mr. Buff, whose resume also includes wins in last year's Empire Classic and back-to-back triumphs in the Alex M. Robb, has been well-beaten in his three efforts against graded stakes company.
“We'll consider the [Grade 3, $200,000] Westchester [on May 2 at Belmont Park], or maybe the [Grade 2, $1 million] Oaklawn Handicap [on April 16 at Oaklawn Park]. We'll see how the numbers come back and evaluate the time frame. Every time I took him out of town, I wasn't happy with what happened, but right now he seems to be very well.”
Returning $2.60 as the 1-5 mutuel favorite, Mr. Buff is out of the Speightstown broodmare Speightful Affair.
Live racing resumes on Sunday at Aqueduct with an eight-race card highlighted by the $100,000 Maddie May in Race 7. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.
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