In search of his third consecutive victory, Mr. Buff will headline a group of 8 salty veterans in the $100,000 Alex M. Robb at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds and up on Saturday, December 29 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
A 4-year-old homebred son of Friend or Foe for owners Chester and Mary Broman in the care of conditioner John Kimmel, Mr. Buff has made 13 starts this year with three wins, four second-place finishes, and a pair of thirds.
Following his first win of the year on August 22 at Saratoga Race Course in a New York-bred optional-claiming race, Mr. Buff has gone on to finish third in the Empire Classic on October 20 at Belmont and notched back-to-back wins at the Alex M. Robb distance at Aqueduct.
“He's doing very well,” said Kimmel. “He seems to appreciate the distance at two turns and for a horse at 17 hands that's very impressive. He runs with a good rhythm and likes to be involved early, so we'll hope he can work out another good trip.”
With jockey David Cohen aboard, Mr. Buff will leave from post 2.
Looking to end the year on a high note, Control Group enters for trainer Rudy Rodriguez and owners Michael Dubb and David Simon.
A 4-year-old New York-bred son of Posse, Control Group has five wins from 10 starts at the distance. Following an allowance victory on July 24 at Finger Lakes, he finished third in the Evan Shipman on August 20 at the Spa and ran fifth in the Empire Classic. In his most recent start on November 17 in the Red Smith at the Big A, he ran third.
“We've been pointing for this race since the Red Smith,” said Rodriguez. “He's been training well. We were thinking about taking him down to Gulfstream to run in the Claiming Crown, but it was easier for us to stay here at home. He's run well at Aqueduct and it's always good to support New York racing and stay in one place.”
Control Group will leave from post 6 with Manny Franco in the irons.
Trainer Gary Sciacca will enter a pair of runners for Yellow Moon Stable with Testosterstone and Hit It Once More.
A 7-year-old gelding sired by multiple graded stakes winner Birdstone, Testosterstone enters the Alex M. Robb off a New York-bred optional-claiming victory on December 16 at the Big A in which he earned his first win of the year from six starts.
Hit It Once More, will look to rebound off a seventh-place finish in an optional-claiming race on November 12 at Parx. A 5-year-old son of Hard Spun, he has three wins from 12 starts this year registering his last victory on August 20 at Finger Lakes in the Genesee Valley Breeders'.
“They both have differing styles, so they compliment one another,” said Sciacca. “Testosterstone will try to win it from off the pace and Hit Once More will look to be upfront early, but they're both coming into this race in good order.”
Testosterstone will depart from post 4 with Eric Cancel aboard and Hit It Once More will leave from post 5 with Luis Reyes in the irons.
Also entered is Caledonian for Curragh Stables and trainer John Terranova; Twisted Tom for Hall of Fame Trainer Bill Mott and Cobra Farm, R R Partners and Head of Plains Partners; Black Tide for David Cannizzo and Ivery Sisters Racing; and Winston's Chance for trainer Debra Breed and Char-Allie Stable and Kathy Haers.
Every day during the month of December, NYRA Bets members who place wagers on Aqueduct will receive a three percent rebate. For more information on the NYRA Bets December three percent bonus, visit NYRABets.com.
First post time on Saturday's 9-race card is 12:20 p.m.
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