After Sir Winston's scratch, Mr. Buff repeats in Aqueduct's Jazil
By Brian Bohl/NYRA Communications
Chester and Mary Broman's Mr. Buff notched five stakes wins in 2019 and started his 6-year-old campaign in similar fashion, leading a five-horse field at every point of call to win the $100,000 Jazil for a second consecutive year on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Sir Winston, the reigning Belmont Stakes winner, was scratched when the track came up sloppy and sealed, paving a clear way to the front for the New York-homebred Mr. Buff. Jockey Junior Alvarado him to an opening quarter-mile in 23.53 seconds, the half in 47.30 and three-quarters in 1:11.65 under pressure by Leitone.
Mr. Buff, the 3-5 favorite, maintained the lead out of the final turn as 20-1 Backsideofthemoon made a strong bid up the rail. But the John Kimmel trainee fended off the challenge to his inside and extended his advantage in the stretch, posting a five-length victory in the sixth running of the Jazil, completing 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.82.
The Friend Or Foe gelding, who posted a 7 ½-length win in the Alex M. Robb last out at the same distance, won for the third time in his last four starts, improving to 13-6-4 overall in 35 career starts and winning for the seventh time in 12 races at the Big A. He returned $3.50 on a $2 win wager.
"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 [Backsideofthemoon] that finished second. It was a pretty significant pace today considering the conditions, but he was up to the task."
Alvarado, who was aboard for his wins in last year's Jazil, Saginaw, Evan Shipman, Empire Classic and Alex M. Robb, has won five of his last six starts aboard Mr. Buff, who is approaching millionaire status with his career bankroll improving to $988,286.
"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 and 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, trained by Robert Klesaris, edged the late-running Adventist by a nose for runner-up status. Leitone and the Stan the Man completed the order of finish.
"My horse ran very good. I went and worked him the other day and he had an easy work heading into this race," said Backsideofthemoon rider Eric Cancel. "I had a lot of confidence coming into this race. I knew Mr. Buff was going to be the horse to beat, he always is in this category, but my horse put in a big effort and I'm thankful."
The win marked a daily double for the Bromans, the winning breeders of Daddy Knows, Mr. Buff's half-brother who captured Race 7 for trainer Linda Rice.