‘Prancing Around The Barn’: Millionaire Mr. Buff Targets Feb. 27 Stymie

Chester and Mary Broman’s long-time New York-bred veteran Mr. Buff has shown no signs of slowing down, winning his 7-year-old debut with a seven-length romp in the Jazil on Jan. 23 at Aqueduct Racetrack. On Saturday, the John Kimmel trainee recorded a strong showing in the morning, putting in a bullet five-furlong breeze in 1:00.40 over the Belmont Park dirt training track.

Mr. Buff, a homebred who has produced a 16-8-4 record in 43 career starts with earnings of nearly $1.3 million, will next target the $125,000 Stymie for 4-year-olds and up going one mile on Feb. 27 at Aqueduct.

“My assistant says he’s acting like a 2-year-old; he’s got a great look in his eye and his energy level is high,” said Kimmel, who is currently working with his contingent at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida. “He’s been prancing around the barn.”

Mr. Buff has found a comfort zone running in listed stakes, finishing in the money in his last 13 appearances with a gaudy 10-2-1 record dating to the Alex M. Robb in December 2018. Since that victory at the Big A, the only times Mr. Buff has not earned black type have been in graded stakes efforts, which included respective fifth-place efforts in last year’s editions of the Grade 1 Whitney, Grade 1 Cigar Mile and Grade 2 Suburban.

The Friend Or Foe gelding has been a force with Kimmel crediting finding the right riders to coax the most out of him. Kendrick Carmouche has been aboard Mr. Buff’s last two starts, including a runner-up effort in the Alex M. Robb on Dec. 12.

“I’m sure he’ll break through sooner or later [in graded stakes] and I think it’s going to come down to having the right guy riding him and not taking him out of his comfort zone,” Kimmel said. “He has good tactical speed and in those races, there’s other horses who have that speed and they don’t give up quite as easily. I think the main thing is to let him find his own rhythm and don’t push him out of his comfort zone. That’s what’s going to be the riding rule for anyone who gets on him. Kendrick did a great job on him.”

Mr. Buff has historically fared well at Aqueduct, compiling a 9-4-0 record in 13 starts, including last out when he earned a 102 Beyer Speed Figure for his Jazil victory.

“Last time, he stayed in his rhythm and went comfortably and he switched leads on a dime at the top of the stretch and you knew it was over from there,” Kimmel said.

While Kimmel has plans for a consistent presence on the stakes circuit, a pair of talented sophomore fillies will look to make their mark at a higher level as Frost Me and Secret Love breezed in company on Saturday ahead of expected starts in the $100,000 Maddie May for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies on Feb. 20 at the Big A.

Nedlaw Stable and Tobey Morton’s Secret Love has a pair of wins and a runner-up effort to her credit through three career starts, including a triumphant stakes debut last out when she outkicked Laobanonaprayer by 1 1/2 lengths in the 6 1/2-furlong Franklin Square on Jan. 16 at Aqueduct.

Whisper Hill Farm’s Frost Me is also 2-1-0 in three starts, winning her debut on a race moved off the turf on Oct. 12 at Belmont before running second next out to Laobanonaprayer in the Maid of the Mist at one mile over Big Sandy on Oct. 24. The daughter of Frosted bested optional claiming company by a length in her Aqueduct debut on Jan. 8 going a one-turn mile.

The stablemates were each clocked going four furlongs in :50.85 over the Belmont dirt training track Saturday.

“I’ve worked them in company many times and I think Secret Love may just be a little quicker than the other, so that might spill out to the race where she goes and the other one might be sitting back,” Kimmel said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Kimmel said Frost Me could eventually project as a turf contender later in the year.

“I always wanted to try Frost Me on the grass; I think she might jump-up her ability level when we try her there,” Kimmel said. “She’s been putting in the effort, but I think she’ll even improve when she gets to the grass.”

The Maddie May, contested at one mile, will mark the first time Secret Love will be tested in a non-sprint.

“I think she can run on anything. She’s a nice mover and tries hard,” Kimmel said.

The post ‘Prancing Around The Barn’: Millionaire Mr. Buff Targets Feb. 27 Stymie appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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