Racing resumes at Aqueduct with Robb Stakes
By NY Hot List Staff
Now that Santa Claus has come and gone, it’s time to put those gifts to use.
Or to try and win some cash to pay for those gifts.
Depending on your perspective, you’ll get your chance to do either of them Saturday when New York racing returns from its holiday break with a nine-race card at Aqueduct.
Heading the program is the $100,000 Alex M. Robb, a 1 1-8 mile stakes for New York State-breds that drew a field of six.
Included in that bunch is the horse who won the year’s richest stakes for New York State-breds, Mr. Buff.
A 5-year-old gelding, Mr. Buff used his speed to post a length victory in the $306,000 Empire Classic at Belmont Park on Oct. 19.
Reflective of trainer John Kimmel’s faith in his gelding are the 5-year-old’s starts before and after the Empire Classic. Both were Grade 1 stakes as he was seventh in the Woodward Stakes before the Empire Classic and 10th in the Clark Handicap after it.
Prior to the Woodward, Mr. Buff reeled off a pair of victories in state-bred races, taking the Evan Shipman and Saginaw.
“It was a disappointing effort last out,” Kimmel said. “You know you’re always in tough against graded stakes competition. Last time, it seemed like he never really got settled and just faded off the front end. But he seems to have rebounded well. He’s always run well against fellow New York-breds and especially at the 1 1/8 miles distance. We’ll use this race to see if we can hopefully just draw a line through his performance in the Clark.”
The field of six also includes Big Gemmy, who will be running in a NYRA state-bred stakes for the first time.
Trained by Linda Rice, he has won five of his last six starts, including a half-length victory Nov. 8 in a state-bred allowance race at Aqueduct at a one-mile distance.
Three of those wins came at Finger Lakes.
“He really has come along and continued to progress since he’s joined us,” Rice said. “We know it’s a big step up from his last two starts, but he ran a good race at Finger Lakes and is doing well so we thought he deserves the opportunity to compete in here.”
Also on hand is Dynamax Prime who was second in the Empire Classic and then finished third in an allowance race against open company.
The rest of the field includes Gio d’Oro, Twisted Tom and Fleet Irish.