SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Chester and Mary Broman homebred Mr. Buff successfully defended his title with another gate-to-wire performance in Saturday’s $100,000 Jazil Stakes at Aqueduct.
Breaking from the rail under Junior Alvarado as the 3/5 favorite in the field of five, Mr. Buff was allowed to set an uncontested pace while Leitone gave closest chase. Unhurried early, Mr. Buff posted fractions of :23.53, :47.30, 1:11.65, and 1:38.05.
Still unpressured as he rounded the far turn, Mr. Buff began putting distance between himself and his competition with every stride. Drawing off convincingly in the stretch, the John Kimmel trainee crossed a geared-down 5 lengths ahead in a final time of 1:51.82 for the 1 1/8-mile event over the sloppy (sealed) main track.
“I thought with (Leitone) on the outside with a little speed, there’s no chance for me to sit second; I had to go,” Alvarado said. “If I let him go, I probably wouldn’t catch him. I didn’t think any horse was coming from behind in this race, that’s what I told John. They would have to chase me. The way I got away, I didn’t think any horse was coming at the end. That was my strategy and it worked out. Once again, Mr. Buff made it there.”
Backsideofthemoon, at 20/1 the longest shot on the tote, rallied for second by a nose over Adventist. Leitone weakened to fourth, outlegging only Stan the Man to complete the order of finish.
The 2019 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Sir Winston, Roaming Union, and Small Bear were trainer scratches.
Mr. Buff’s win was second straight, having defended his Alex Robb Stakes title last out over the same course on December 28. The New York-bred 6-year-old son of Friend or Foe now carries a record of 35-13-6-4 with $992,411 earned.
“You’re always nervous when you get a track as wet as this one was today, but he’s such a class animal,” Kimmel said. “I don’t think there’s any surface he wouldn’t try on. He got pressed by the two second-choices and put them away to set it up for the horse that finished second. It was a pretty significant pace today, considering the conditions, but he was up to the task.”
Mr. Buff returned $3.50 to win, $2.90 to place, and $2.20 to show. Backsideofthemoon brought back $9.20 to place and $4.30 to show, while Adventist paid $3.40 to show.