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OZONE PARK, NY – Chester and Mary Broman homebred Mr. Buff grew leg-weary in the late stages but managed to hold sway in Saturday’s $125,000 Stymie Stakes at Aqueduct.
Mr. Buff was the 3/5 favorite under Manny Franco as he broke on top from post 3 and set a swift early tempo over a sloppy (sealed) main track.
Alwaysmining and Musical Heart gave closest early watch, but Mr. Buff opened up at the top of the stretch and left them behind.
Limonite rallied strongly in the stretch as Mr. Buff hit a wall and visibly weakened in the final 1/16, but the ultra-class New York-bred dug deep and finished a 1/2-length ahead for his 11th career stakes score, completing the one-turn dirt mile event in 1:36.97.
“I wanted to make sure I broke out of there running,” Franco said. “(Musical Heart) kept pushing my horse, and I know my horse can rate, but I just wanted to let him do his thing. When I got to the front, I was happy, and I know that’s the way he likes to run. … He’s got a big stride and he just outrun the other horses. The last 1/16, I felt he was tiring, but I know he went pretty quick the first part, and that was my plan.”
Musical Heart nearly kept pace with Limonite once headed, ultimately finishing another 1/2-length back in third. A distanced Tintoretto and Alwaysmining completed the order of finish.
Mr. Buff’s win improved his record to 44-17-8-4 with $1,364,536 earned. John Kimmel trains the 7-year-old Friend or Foe gelding.
Mr. Buff returned $3.40 to win and $2.10 to place. Limonite paid $2.90 to place. There was no show betting.
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