Highly respected bloodstock agent Baden P. "Buzz" Chace, 72, died Aug. 18 after a short battle with brain cancer. He had been diagnosed with cancer a month ago.
The New Jersey resident had a sharp eye for an athletic horse and was renowned in the U.S. and internationally for finding exceptional talent at sales without overpaying.
"In our game, your success is easily measured at the finish line," said Terry Finley, president of West Point Thoroughbreds, which bought and sold horses with Chace for 17 years. "Buzz was one of the most successful in our game, and he didn't go to the sales with the biggest bankroll."
Some of Chace's best finds included champion and top sire Unbridled's Song, who he bought for Paraneck Stable for $200,000. The son of Unbridled went on to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and the Florida Derby (gr. I), bankrolling more than $1.3 million in 12 starts. Unbridled's Song, who died in July, also has sired 100 stakes winners to date. Other top runners were champion sprinter Artax and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Sarava.
For West Point Thoroughbreds, Chace bought the operation's first graded stakes winner Flashy Bull along with grade I winners Dream Rush (Darley Test Stakes, Prioress Stakes); Lear's Princess (Gazelle Stakes); Irish Smoke (Spinaway Stakes); and Macho Again (Stephen Foster Handicap).
"He worked the sales hard," Finley said. "That was his element."
Chace's keen eye for a classy Thoroughbred led him to work for some of the industry's top owners like Finley, Aaron and Marie Jones, Raymond Dweck, Charles Hess, and Richard Santulli. He will be most remembered, however, for treating everyone with respect and setting aside time for a conversation with a groom as readily as he would for a client, according to Finley.
"He was always helping kids who were trying to move up, maybe from a handler at the sales to a foreman," Finley said. "He was a quality human being, and when you're a quality human being, you do the little things like that. He was a beautiful man."
Chace is survived by his wife of 50 years, Mary Lou, and sons Mark Chace and Baden Chace II. A celebration of his life is scheduled for 4-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23 at Beacon Hill Country Club, 107 Portland Road, Middletown, N.J. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made in his memory to the National HBPA Foundation, 870 Corporate Drive, Ste. 300, Lexington, KY 40503-5149 or online at www.nationalhbpa.com.