By Jon Forbes | 10/30/2010 03:32 PM ET
The progeny of Bernardini created a lot of buzz in the sales ring as yearlings, with three selling for over $1 million.
One member of that trio, Buffum, has joined the New York Watch, which profiles up-and-comers that have recently cleared the maiden ranks at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga, after winning his debut today at Belmont.
Buffum – purchased for $1.2 million at the 2009 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling sale by Darley Stable, which bred and campaigned Bernardini, the 2006 Champion Three-Year-Old Colt – went off at 8-1 and raced three lengths off the lead in fourth as Rock Hard Nicky set solid fractions of 22.40 and 45.54.
After taking over with three-eighths left, Buffum was set down by David Cohen in upper stretch, drifted out under left-handed urging inside the final furlong, and was all out to hold off Cool Blue Red Hot by a nose. Buffum, who completed the one-mile distance in 1:36.85, was 7 ¼ lengths clear of longshot third-place finisher Acadian Blues.
“We had high expectations for him before the race with him being by a champion horse,” said trainer Tom Albertrani, who also conditioned the colt’s sire. “His works were always promising, and we were expecting to see him run as well as he did today.”
Despite the small margin of victory, Albertrani believes Buffum has a promising future.
“It looked like the horse was traveling very smoothly and easily down the backside,” said Albertrani. “He took the lead quite easily and managed to hold off a late charge, so it was a good performance. This race should, hopefully, bring him further along. There are bigger and better things to come later, I think. He kind of ducked from the left-handed whip, which is understandable. With racing, he’ll definitely start improving.”
After taking the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct in his third start, Bernardini captured the Grade 1 Preakness, rode a winning streak through summer and into the fall with victories in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy, Grade 1 Travers, and Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational, and concluded his 3-year-old season with a runner-up effort behind Invasor in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Albertrani sees some resemblance between Buffum and his champion father.
“Buffum has his father’s demeanor,” the trainer said. “He’s very laid back and acts very professional, just like Bernardini.”
Buffum – a half-brother to Stormy West, victorious in overnight stakes on the dirt and the turf – hails from a deep family. His dam, Storm Beauty, won two stakes and is out of Stick to Beauty, another black-type winner. Stick to Beauty also produced Gold Beauty, the dam of English horse of the year and European high-weighted sprinter Dayjur and Grade 1 Alabama winner Maplejinsky. Gold Beauty is also the granddam of 1993 Triple Tiara winner Sky Beauty and the great-granddam of 2005 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Pleasant Home, Grade 1 Wood Memorial and Grade 1 Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile Handicap hero Tale of Ekati, and multiple Grade 2 winner Country Hideaway.