Our Last Buck wins long-awaited stakes debut in Say Florida Sandy
by Brian Bohl
It took J and N Stables’ Our Last Buck until the age of 7 to make his stakes debut. The patience paid off, as the veteran son of Courageous Cat rallied in the stretch with a wide move before cruising to a 3 3/4-length victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Say Florida Sandy for New York-breds 4-year-olds and up at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Our Last Buck ended his 6-year-old campaign with momentum, posting wins in two of his last three starts in 2020, including a 1 1/2-length score against allowance company in a one-turn mile on December 12 at the Big A.
Off that effort, which netted a personal-best 93 Beyer Speed Figure, trainer Michelle Nevin moved him up to stakes company for the first time in his 18 career starts. Our Last Buck responded by patiently tracking in fourth position as Runningwscissors led the compact five-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 22.96 seconds and the half in 46.93 on the fast main track.
Out of the turn, Aqueduct meet-leading rider Kendrick Carmouche positioned Our Last Buck on the far outside and set him down at the top of the stretch, where he picked off three rivals before outkicking 4-5 favorite Funny Guy to stop the clock in 1:25.11 for the seven furlongs.
“I was a winner when I left the gate. My horse broke sharp,” Carmouche said. “I just wanted to make sure I stayed close to the favorite [Funny Guy] and he had me in a stalking position the whole time. Michelle didn’t give me any instructions, she just said, ‘do what’s best.’ The horse ran his race. I’m just very pleased with him at the age of 7 competing against these young boys. He showed that he can still do it. He’s a consistent horse, so I just had to ride him to his ability.”
Our Last Buck, bred by Gerardus S. Jameson, went off a 6-1 and returned $14.20 on a $2 win bet. He improved his career earnings to $273,990 and has finished first or second in seven of his last eight starts dating to June.
“It might be a process of age and him settling down,” Nevin said. “When we first got him, he was a very silly and nervous type of horse, but steadily over time he just has become more manageable and more relaxed. I think that’s really what’s helping him today.”
Our Last Buck improved to 6-3-2 lifetime, with four of those victories coming at Aqueduct.
“He handled it great. He’s run on several different types of tracks. He always just seems to put up a big effort,” Nevin said. “Kendrick gave him an awesome ride. You could see around the far turn that he still had plenty of horse. When he pulled him out, he really fired for him.”
Funny Guy, ridden by Manny Franco and trained by John Terranova, finished 3 ¼ lengths clear of Runningwscissors for second.
“He was having a hard time getting over the track because the track is a little deeper today,” Franco said. “He’s a big horse, so I think the track today was against him. Other than that, he did everything right.”
My Boy Tate and Celtic Chaos completed the order of finish.
Live racing resumes Sunday at Aqueduct with a nine-race card headlined by the $100,000 Rego Park for state-bred sophomores in Race 8. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.