Nicanor, the widely cherished full brother to the legendary Barbaro, returned to racing on Saturday in a $40,000 Maiden Special Weight at Gulfstream Park, turning in a much improved performance. Sent off at odds of 8/1, he finished a game second to 3/5 favorite Custom for Carlos and returned $6.00 for place and $4.40 for show.
Trained by Michael Matz, the 3-year-old son of Dynaformer drew national attention from horse racing fans due to his kinship with Barbaro. However, all the well wishing in the world from a hopeful and adoring public seemed for naught when he encountered trouble at several different moments during his debut on January 31st. Sent off as the second choice that day, he faded badly to tenth, beaten by 25 lengths.
The world waited with baited breath to see what would transpire in his second effort, and you know what folks? Give this horse a little time and he might be a pretty good one himself. Ultimately he was passed by Custom for Carlos, a daunting favorite who had outrun Nicanor by 46 Beyer points in his debut. Nicanor made him earn it today, and for a moment even appeared to be fighting back in the stretch. That’s an encouraging sign from a Dynaformer colt. You want them to be fighters in the stretch.
He appears capable of breaking his maiden in his next effort, provided he receives some smart placement and little bit of racing luck. We’ll see from there if he’s able to progress through the conditional allowance levels. Dreams of stakes races may be far off in the future at this point in time, but if all goes well this colt should develop and continue to move forward.
There was an ever-so-slight indication that light had turned on for Nicanor by virtue of his March 3rd workout going 4 furlongs in 48 and change. The drill was significantly faster than his last posted efforts at the distance. He cut back in distance today from 1 mile to 7 furlongs, and judging from his candor in the stretch I’d say this guy would appreciate the extra furlong again if his connections can find the right race.