09/09/2011 2:35PM

Belmont: Buffum in position to make some noise this fall for Godolphin

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Barbara D. Livingston
The 3-year-old Buffum makes the second start of his current form cycle in a second-level allowance Sunday at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – It has been a quiet year in North America for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Stable. One horse who could make a little bit of noise this fall is Buffum, who heads a field of seven entered in a second-level allowance race carded at one mile at Belmont Park on Sunday.

Buffum, a 3-year-old son of Bernardini, was a debut winner at Belmont last fall and was immediately elevated into graded stakes company and finished last of five, beaten 20 lengths by To Honor and Serve in the Grade 2 Remsen.

Buffum wintered in Dubai, where he finished fifth in the UAE 2000 Guineas in February at Meydan and couldn’t get into the over-filled UAE Derby in March. Instead, Buffum was shipped back to the U.S. and ran in the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct, in which he dead-heated for fourth behind J. J.’s Lucky Train after a traffic-filled trip.

“Basically he was all dressed up and nowhere to go so we thought we’d run him in the Bay Shore right off the plane," said Rick Mettee, Godolphin’s New York-based assistant. “He ran okay; the race turned out to be a pretty hot race."

Following a freshening, Buffum returned in a first-level allowance at Saratoga on Aug. 7 in which he split horses at the five-sixteenths pole and drew clear to win by 10 lengths. He ran seven furlongs in 1:23.14 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 103.

“We thought he’d run well; he ran a little better than we even thought he would," Mettee said. “He’s trained really well since then."

Buffum will break from post 6 in a seven-horse field that includes fellow 3-year-olds Bold Warrior and Golden Gulch, both of whom were well-beaten in the Curlin Stakes. Bold Warrior, trained by Allen Jerkens, returns to Belmont, where he went 2 for 3 during the spring/summer meet.

A victory by Buffum could put him in the mix for the one-turn races at Belmont and Aqueduct later this year, though Godolphin appears to have others to run there.

Girolamo, last year’s Grade 1 Vosburgh winner, has not run since finishing third in the Cigar Mile last November. Mettee said Girolamo could be ready to run in the Bold Ruler here on Oct. 29 and then the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct.

Vineyard Haven is another who could show up in the Bold Ruler, though he may also be a candidate for the De Francis Dash at Laurel Park.

Mettee did say that the Grade 1 winner Gayego recently underwent colic surgery at Ohio State University and is convalescing in Kentucky. Also in Kentucky is Hibaayeb, who gave Godolphin its only stakes U.S. stakes win of 2011 by taking the Sheepshead Bay. She has missed time due to a bruised foot and is not expected to return to the races this year.