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Afleeting Lady, Buffum Make Grade at Belmont

Buffum came out running and never stopped as he posted a gate-to-wire victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Bold Ruler Handicap, one of two graded stakes on the second-to-last card of Belmont Park’s 37-day fall meet.


One race earlier, the 5-year-old mare Afleeting Lady became a graded stakes winner as she collared front-running All Due Respect in midstretch and pulled clear to a 3 ½-length triumph in the Grade 3, $150,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap.


Buffum, a 4-year-old Bernardini colt who carries the colors of Godolphin Racing, shot to the lead from post position 1 and ticked off fractions of 22.55 and 45.24 seconds while being tracked intently by Associate and Little Drama. Facing a serious challenge from those two rivals straightening for home, Buffum found an extra gear inside the eighth pole and went on to a 1 ¼-length victory over Little Drama, with Associate finishing third, another half-length back.


Buffum’s time for the seven furlongs was 1:21.68.


“He broke good and put himself right there, it was the only choice,” said winning jockey Eddie Castro. “He ran good. It was a nice race.”


The victory was the second in three 2012 starts and first in a stakes for Buffum, who was coming off a 3 ½-month layoff following a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap at Belmont.


“After the Suburban, we naturally were a little disappointed and we backed off him for a little while,” said winning trainer Tom Albertrani of Buffum, who returned $10.60 for a $2 win wager. “We took him to Saratoga, and there was a minor foot issue with a quarter-crack we had up there, but there was no opportunity to run him. So we just waited for this.”


The trainer said Buffum, who is 4-1-0 from nine career starts with earnings of $241,800, most likely would make his next start in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap on November 24 at Aqueduct Racetrack.


Completing the order of finish behind Associate were Private Tale, Goldigger’s Boy, Gallant Fields, favored Caixa Eletronica, Zero Rate Policy and Spring to the Sky. Isn’t He Perfect was scratched.


In the Turnback the Alarm, in which she was making her first start for new owners Richard Santulli and Alpha Delta Stables, Afleeting Lady ran second as All Due Respect carried the field of eight fillies and mares through an opening quarter-mile in 23.39 seconds, with the half going in a brisk 46.17.


Moving up willingly on the turn when asked by jockey Joel Rosario, the older half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Shackleford drew alongside the pacesetter at the top of the stretch and edged away to hit the wire in 1:42.17 for 1 1/16 miles.


It was the second straight victory and third in six 2012 outings for Afleeting Lady, who is trained by Dale Romans. Now 6-4-2 from 18 career starts with earnings of $374,822, she returned $8 for a $2 win bet.


All Due Respect was 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Nefertini, who nosed out Go Unbridled for third. Completing the order of finish were favored R Gypsy Gold, Arena Elvira, Maristar, and Catch a Thief.



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