11/22/2007 12:00AM

Buffalo Man in search of Discovery

EmailOZONE PARK, N.Y. - With many top-echelon 3-year-olds already retired or being considered for retirement, opportunities will be plentiful for those in the division who stay in training.

Two with genuine talent, Buffalo Man and Now a Victor, square off at Aqueduct in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Discovery Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile route that also attracted Dr. V's Magic, winner of the recent Empire Classic; Helsinki, third in the Travers and Brooklyn Handicap; the mud-loving Notice Me Now; Port Royal, an aggressively spotted last-out maiden graduate; and Shopton Lane, who is a perfect 4 for 4 this year.

After winning the Spectacular Bid Stakes and the Ocala Breeders' Championship last winter, Buffalo Man was 5 for 7 and being pointed to the Fountain of Youth when he suffered a condylar fracture in a workout. The injury required surgery and the insertion of two screws into the broken bones.

He was entered for his return in the six-furlong Select Stakes at Monmouth Park on Breeders' Cup Day, but was scratched due to the sloppy track. Buffalo Man returned in the one-mile Wild Again Stakes the following week and ran second to C P West.

"My problem picking a spot for him was that he'd won so many races," said trainer Cam Gambolati. "He trained great, but coming off an injury you just don't know. He got a good, solid race behind C P West, and this is a good progression. I expect a good race out of him."

Buffalo Man, the 120-pound highweight, has never run this far, but has won both of his starts around two turns, including the Storm Cat Stakes, which was easily his most impressive race as a 2-year-old.

"All the time he was running in sprints, I thought he was a better two-turn horse," said Gambolati. "He's fresh. A lot of the top 3-year-olds are retired, so if you can come around as a 4-year-old . . ."

The late-blooming Now a Victor has run only three times, but he has already shown substantial ability. After winning maiden and first-level allowance sprints at Saratoga and Belmont, he lost by just a neck in the Pegasus Stakes on Breeder' Cup Day.

"We like him a lot," said trainer Michael Trombetta. "First time at a mile and an eighth in the Pegasus we were asking a lot, and he almost got it done. He's always performed well and run big numbers, and he could have a nice future."

For Now a Victor and everyone else in the Discovery field, the future is now.