Nicanor, full brother to the ill-fated Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hero Barbaro, will have to wait until another day to get his first victory following his runner-up showing as the odds-one choice to Glittermans Cartel in a $42,000 maiden race at Gulfstream Park March 28 (VIDEO).
Ridden by Jose Lezcano, Nicanor fought the pacesetter Glittermans Cartel all the way to the wire but came up a half-length short in the one-turn mile main track heat for 3-year-olds.
Kent Desormeaux rode the winner, a Kentucky-bred son of Champali trained by Ken McPeek for owners Brenda Stewart and D. and P. Nierzwicki. It was the second start for the bay colt, who was defeated by a nose in his maiden debut for an $80,000 claiming tag at Gulfstream Feb. 11.
Nicanor, who is owned and bred by Mr. and Mrs. Roy Jackson's Lael Stables and trained by Michael Matz, was making his third start. They are the same connections that campaigned Barbaro, who broke down in the 2006 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) following his smashing Derby win and eventually succumbed to laminitis.
Following a 10th-place finish in his debut Jan. 31 when he grabbed a quarter shortly after the start, the son of Dynaformer has now posted back-to-back runner-up finishes at Gulfstream. The bay colt lost by one length to Swale Stakes (gr. II) entrant Custom for Carlos in his second start at 8-1 odds on March 7.
Sent off at 7-10 this time in a field of eight, Nicanor was steadied soon after the start by Lezcano and was angled outside of Glittermans Cartel leaving the chute onto the backstretch. Nicanor advanced from third between horses after an opening quarter-mile of :24.07 to press the leader around the bend. The half-mile split was :46.51 and six furlongs went in 1:10.42 as Glittermans Cartel edged clear to lead by two lengths mid-stretch.
Nicanor, responding to urging from Lezcano partially, narrowed the gap at the sixteenth pole and was inching still closer as they reached the wire. The final time was a sharp 1:36.08 over a fast strip.
“We had good position coming around the far turn, but he was just playing around looking at the other horses," Lezcano said. "Coming down the stretch he was a little green. I think he’ll become a nice horse.”
"He was looking at the winner in the stretch," Matz concurred. "The jock said he felt like he had a lot more horse. We just have to give him more experience. He’s a good horse. It’s just going to take some time. He goes north for his next start.”
Glittermans Cartel paid $10.20 to win and topped a $2 exacta worth $26.20. It was 6 1/4 lengths to the show horse, first-time starter Birdrun.