From the NYRA Media Team:
Multiple stakes winners Mr. Buff and City Man return off short rest in Saturday’s $100,000 Alex M. Robb, a nine-furlong test for New York-breds 3-years-old and up at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by John Kimmel, Mr. Buff ran a distant fifth in Saturday’s Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap contested over a sloppy track at the Big A after scoring against his Empire State-bred counterparts in the Empire Classic on Empire Showcase Day, October 24 at Belmont Park.
Owned and bred by Chester and Mary Broman, Mr. Buff will look for his third straight Alex M. Robb score. He notched the first of his nine stakes triumphs in the 2018 edition by a nose over Twisted Tom. Last year, he was an emphatic 7 ½-length victor of the Alex M. Robb over Dynamax Prime.
Mr. Buff has amassed the highest amount of lifetime earnings in the field, banking $1,220,786 with a career record of 41-15-7-4. In addition to the last two runnings of the Alex M. Robb, Mr. Buff owns victories in the Jazil in back-to-back years and the Haynesfield, which he won last year by 20 lengths while garnering a 106 Beyer Speed Figure.
Kimmel said Mr. Buff exited the Cigar Mile in good order.
“His energy level was quite high. He actually seems quite full of himself,” Kimmel said. “I’m not committed to running. We’ll get a couple more gallop days into him. The exercise rider [Jorge Munoz] that has been on him says he feels extremely energetic. He seems to be doing fine.”
Should he opt out of the Alex M. Robb, Kimmel said the nine-furlong $100,000 Queens County on December 19 at the Big A against open company would be another option for Mr. Buff.
Kendrick Carmouche, the recently concluded Big A fall meet’s leading rider, piloted Mr. Buff to his maiden victory in September 2016 at Belmont Park. He will be reunited with the talented New York-bred from post 4.
Christophe Clement, fresh off earning his first New York training title at the Aqueduct fall meet, will send City Man back to action after a triumphant stakes encounter in the open company Gio Ponti on November 27 over the inner turf at the Big A.
Owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Peter Searles and Patty Searles, the sophomore son of Mucho Macho Man made his fourth career start on grass a winning one last out. He won last year’s Funny Cide in August 2019 one the Saratoga Race Course main track by 4 ¾ lengths.
“It seems to be the nature of his sire. He’s putting out as good of dirt horses as he is turf horses,” said Dean Reeves of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, who also campaigned Mucho Macho Man. “This is a nice horse. I was happy for him to come back and win the way he did. He had been running well, we just weren’t getting the job done, so I was happy to see him notch a stakes win. Personally, I think he’ll get better in his 4-year-old season. There’s a lot of upside side to him.”
In winning the Gio Ponti, City Man ended a seven-race losing streak, which included a close fourth in the Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland, marking his lone graded stakes start to date. He has never finished worst than fourth through a consistent 10-3-2-1 record.
“When I watch him, I still think he’s a little immature,” Reeves said. “He wants to run up to the leaders all of a sudden and then wait on them. Once he grows out of that, he can go by them and finish a little stronger. He’s an exciting horse. It’s really nice to have a horse where you can think dirt and turf.”
City Man, bred in New York by Moonstar Farm, is out of the City Zip mare City Scamper. He was purchased for $185,000 from the OBS April Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.
City Man will exit post 3 with Manny Franco aboard.
Clement also will send out Waterville Lake Stable’s Sea Foam, who seeks his fourth career stakes triumph.
The homebred 5-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro, out of the graded-stakes winning Unbridled’s Song mare Strike It Rich, won the Notebook at the Big A during his juvenile campaign and picked up wins in the New York Derby at Finger Lakes and the Albany at Saratoga the following year.
Sea Foam has notched three allowance wins since then, including two against open company. He was third last out to Mr. Buff in the Empire Classic.
Joel Rosario will ride Sea Foam from post 1.
Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing’s Bankit seeks his first triumph since last year’s New York Derby for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. The son of Central Banker, bred by Hidden Brook Farm and Blue Devil Racing, has gone winless in 11 starts this season. He has been stakes-placed on six occasions this year, including two runner-up placings at Oaklawn Park, where he was a head shy of victory in the Fifth Season and Grade 3 Razorback. Bankit was a last-out third to Funny Guy in the NYSSS Thunder Rumble on November 22 at the Big A.
Jockey Jose Lezcano will be aboard from post 6.
Completing the field are four-time winner Yankee Division [post 2, Jorge Vargas, Jr.], and Noda Brothers’ Miner’s Mark winner Danny California [post 5, Luis Castro Rodgriguez].
The Alex M. Robb is slated as Race 8 on Aqueduct’s nine-race program, which offers a first post of 12:20 p.m. Eastern.