Reigning New York-Bred Champion Mr. Buff Retired With 17 Wins

Even a career this good must end at some point. After 48 starts, 17 wins and $1,403,536 in earnings, New York-bred star Mr. Buff will race no more.

The 7-year-old retires with two New York-bred championships – Older Dirt Male of 2019 and 2020 – in six seasons on the track. He won 11 stakes and made every start but two in New York. For now, the chestnut gelding heads to his birthplace, owners/breeders Chester and Mary Bromans’ Chestertown Farm in Chestertown, N.Y.

“It’s sad, but happy too,” said trainer John Kimmel. “It’s hard to find a horse that could win 17 races and retire sound. He’s the winningest horse I’ve ever had. We’ll miss him, but he goes to the farm as a sound horse.”

Mr. Buff foaled at Chestertown (about 50 miles north of Saratoga Springs) in February 2014. The son of Friend Or Foe (who won five races and earned $349,134 for the Bromans and Kimmel) and the Speightstown mare Speightful Affair finished fifth in his debut at Saratoga in 2016 and won his next start at Belmont Park in September.

Mr. Buff won twice more in 2017, but endured eight losses to start 2018 before closing with wins in four of his final six starts – topped by the Alex M. Robb Stakes for New York-breds at Aqueduct. The success carried over, as he opened 2019 with a victory in the open-company Jazil Stakes at Aqueduct. Later that season, he added the Saginaw, Evan Shipman, Empire Classic and another edition of the Robb while piling up a career-high $455,750.

Awarded his first New York-bred divisional crown after that season, Mr. Buff duplicated the feat in 2020 thanks to wins in the Jazil, Haynesfield and Empire Classic and $307,500 in earnings.

Kimmel loved the success, and the ride the burly chestnut took everyone on.

“He gets better and better all the time. He’s just been an iron horse,” the said in early 2021. “Once we figured out a few things about him, he kept losing his shoes, we’ve been gluing his shoes on for two-and-a-half years now. He’s got white feet, they’re kind of brittle, once he had shoes that didn’t fall off, he’s run a little better and a little better. He can use that big stride to his advantage.”

Mr. Buff opened 2021 with a third consecutive win in the Jazil and another stakes score in the Stymie. That Aqueduct victory would be his last as he followed with a third in the Westchester, fifths in the Commentator and Evan Shipman and a well-beaten eighth in the Empire Classic Oct. 30. Kimmel but pinned some of the dull performances on the inability to use Lasix in New York stakes races starting in 2021.

“He was always a bleeder, and benefitted from the use of Lasix,” Kimmel said. “He’s not gushing, but he’s bleeding like a two out of five and he’s so smart, and he’s such a veteran that I think he can tell he’s going to bleed if he tries any harder. In the morning, he works well. He’s right there with other horses breezing, but he’s treated with Lasix. Without it, running in the afternoon in tougher races, he’s taking care of himself. He’s been too good to us to push the envelope anymore.”

Though he hesitated to single out one race as the most memorable, Kimmel called the 2020 Empire Classic a favorite. Facing six foes, coming off three losses and making his first start in almost three months, Mr. Buff controlled the race from the inside post position and made the lead last 1 1/8 miles while winning by 3 1/4 lengths for Junior Alvarado.

“He had run a couple clunkers against the better horses and hadn’t run in a while,” Kimmel said. “I was real tickled because they were kind of writing him off and for him to come back and show at the age of 6 that he could come back and do that against a pretty good group of New York-breds was something.”

Kimmel tried graded company seven times with his stable star, but Mr. Buff never broke through – finishing ninth in the 2019 New Orleans Handicap-G2, seventh in the 2019 Woodward-G1, 10th in the 2019 Clark-G1, fifth in the 2020 Suburban-G2, Whitney-G1 and Cigar Mile-G1 and third in the 2021 Westchester-G3.

The Bromans bought Mr. Buff’s dam for $80,000 at Fasig-Tipton‘s Kentucky mixed sale in February 2013. Her 12-start racing career yielded two wins and a second in a Grade 3 stakes. As a broodmare, she has produced two winners for the Bromans in addition to Mr. Buff – a full-brother Cain Is Abel and the Scat Daddy gelding Daddy Knows. Miss Buff, a 3-year-old full-sister, has yet to race. The top side of Mr. Buff’s pedigree starts with Friend Or Foe, whose career included wins in the Mike Lee, Empire Classic and Easy Goer stakes plus a fourth in the Grade 1 Whitney in 2011 for Kimmel and the Bromans. His sire Friends Lake also raced for the Bromans and Kimmel, winning the Grade 1 Florida Derby and starting in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby in 2004.

Retirement plans, other than no racing, weren’t quite finalized. Mr. Buff headed to Chestertown with no plans, though his trainer wouldn’t rule out a second career as a stable pony.

“I used to use him with the babies,” Kimmel said. “He’s so big that he’s good at it. He’s over 17 hands and he’d go, ‘Come on, Sonny, this is the way we do it.’ And the 2-year-olds would follow him like, ‘I better pay attention to this guy. He knows what he’s doing.’

“I don’t know if we make him into a pony on the track, but I’m sure he’s sound enough that he could do something. Right now, he’s going to get a break. He’s going to be a happy horse.”

The post Reigning New York-Bred Champion Mr. Buff Retired With 17 Wins appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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