Mr. Buff proves mighty tough in Alex M. Robb

Saturday, December 29th, 2018

NYRA/Susie Raisher

By Sarah Mace

Chester and Mary Broman’s Mr. Buff garnered his first career stakes victory with pure grit when he won the 9-furlong, $100,000 Alex M. Robb Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-olds and up on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack. After winning an early battle for the lead, the 4-year-old chestnut gelding raced under pressure throughout, then dug down deep to fend off a final late surge by Twisted Tom.

Second choice at odds of 5-2 in the field of six veterans – scratched down from eight after the defection of Hit It Once More and Caledonia – Mr. Buff faced his fourteenth and final start of the year looking to cap a highly successful 2018 for trainer John Kimmel and the Bromans. Seven times in the exacta, with three wins, and nine times in the money in 13 tries, Mr. Buff was also looking for his third straight victory in Robb as well as a first stakes tally. On November 14 and 28, going the same 1 1/8-mile trip as the Robb at Aqueduct, the chestnut won through his open allowance conditions.

Following an even break for all and outkicked early by the speedy Black Tide, Mr. Buff settled in second at the rail. Midway along the backstretch, he took matters into his own hands and struck the front.

When Black Tide threw in the towel late on the backstretch, ultimately to be put under a precautionary hold, Twisted Tom advanced from third to second and made it his mission to pressure Mr. Buff all the way to the wire.

The pair got on virtually even terms at the quarter pole, but Mr. Buff, with his inside track, again shook off his rival, apparently putting him away.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Twisted Tom, however, starting only twice before in 2018 and well-beaten on both occasions, appeared resurgent following a 131-day break and move to the barn of Bill Mott. His determination, too, was on display to the wire. In deep stretch, he made a final surge and drew up close to Mr. Buff. When the wire intervened in the battle, Mr. Buff had the decision by a nose.

Winning jockey David Cohen said, “[Mr. Buff]’s the type of horse that even though he’s very speedy, you don’t really want to ask him, because he gets too rank early. So, in my mind, I thought the outside horse [Black Tide] was going to go like it did. I let him develop into his pace and find his stride that he likes down the backside. Once he finds his stride, he has so much heart and is really hard to pass. He showed that again today.”

Following fractions of 23.95, 48.42, 1:13.26, 1:39.45, the final time for 1 1/8 miles over the drying-out muddy (harrowed) oval was 1:53.59. Finishing behind the front two were 3-2 favorite Control Group in third, Testosterstone, Winston’s Chance and Black Tide. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Mr. Buff is a third generation Broman homebred through – exceptionally enough – the male line. He is sired by the couple’s multiple stakes winning homebred Friend or Foe, who is, in turn, a son of Friends Lake, the Broman’s homebred graded stakes winner also turned sire.

Mr. Buff’s dam is Speightful Affair (Speightstown), a graded stakes placed Ontario-bred who was purchased by Chester and Mary Broman for $80,000 at the Fasig-Tipton 2013 winter mixed sale. In 2018 she produced a full sister to Mr. Buff and has been bred back to Friend or Foe, who stands at Smallwood Farm in Virginia.

For his career, from seven wins, six seconds and three thirds in 25 starts, Mr. Buff has earned $477,536.

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