SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Jockey Junior Alvarado barely had to flex his muscles as he guided Chester and Mary Broman’s Mr. Buff to a commanding score in Saturday’s $100,000 Alex M. Robb at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by John Kimmel, the 17.2 hands tall Mr. Buff successfully defended his title in the 9-furlong test for New York-breds 3-years-old and upward with a 7 1/2-length romp.
Gio d’Oro led the field of six through moderate splits of 25.01 and 50.79 seconds as Mr. Buff stalked in second position. Dynamax Prime, who stumbled from the gate under Manny Franco, loomed the main challenger in third position as Mr. Buff rolled to the lead through 3/4 in 1:15.44 and opened up a 4-length lead at the stretch call.
Mr. Buff, always in control, powered through the wire in hand while stopping the clock in 1:52.84 on the fast main track. Alvarado was full of praise for the powerful Mr. Buff, who has now won five stakes on the NYRA circuit this year, including the Jazil, Saginaw, Evan Shipman, and Empire Classic.
“I just rode my horse like he was the best horse. I wasn’t taking anything away from him and I wasn’t sending him either,” said Alvarado. “I knew how much horse I was going to have at the end, so I just let him move along. At the 1/2-mile pole, he felt like he wanted to go on and start picking things up, and after that, he just carried me all the way to the wire.”
Dynamax Prime stayed on strong to the wire to complete the exacta, two lengths the better of rallying 56/1 longshot Fleet Irish.
“He stumbled a little bit out of the gate, but I was in the position that I wanted to be in,” said Franco. “I wanted to be close to the pace because I knew the pace was going to be slow. My horse put in a good effort, but the winner is a very good horse too.”
Rounding out the order of finish were Twisted Tom, Big Gemmy, and Gio d’Oro.
Mr. Buff, bred in the Empire State by his owners, banked $57,750 in victory while improving his record to 12-6-4 from 34 starts. He paid $3.10 for a $2 win ticket.