Nicanor’s race, the Malibu Rum Finish Line, is the eighth on a card of 11 races, highlighted by the $100,000 Honey Fox and the $75,000 Sunshine State. The Malibu Rum carries a $40,000 purse and will be contested at seven furlongs.
Those are the same connections as Barbaro, the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby winner whose success on the racetrack and doomed struggle off it captivated the nation from May, 2006, when he broke a leg, to his passing from complications of that injury the following January.
Edgar Prado, who rode Barbaro and who also rode Nicanor in his first race, will be riding at Santa Anita Saturday. Jose Lezcano will have the mount.
Nicanor’s development has been intensely followed by the legions of Barbaro fans and his appearance Jan. 31 brought so much attention that the Grade 1, $500,000 Donn Handicap and the Holy Bull Stakes, a major prep for classic-bound threatens, came close to being afterthoughts in the national media coverage.
Unfortunately, Nicanor suffered minor cuts while kicking himself just after leaving the starting gate and he was never a threat in that race, finishing 10th of 12, 25 lengths behind the winner, Warrior’s Reward.
Through the defeat, however, hopes remain high that Nicanor will prove a worthy successor to his older brother.
She’s Back! Wild Promises Returns for Honey Fox Saturday
Estate of Harry Aleo’s 5-year-old mare Wild Promises has invaded South Florida twice already this winter from trainer Greg Gilchrist’s Northern California headquarters at Golden Gate Fields, winning the $100,000 My Charmer Handicap (G3) at Calder in mid-December and the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf last out at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 24.
Wild Promises has made the long trip again this week, bringing a six-race stakes win streak into Saturday’s $100,000 Honey Fox Stakes (G3). Jockey Aaron Gryder will be flying in from Southern California for the mount in the one-mile turf test and they will be favored in a full field of 14 fillies and mares.
A Florida-bred daughter of Wild Event, Wild Promises beat a strong field in each of her two previous victories, defeating Canadian champion Callwood Dancer and Grade 1 winner Rutherienne to score in the My Charmer. She had made all of her previous career starts in Northern California and her record now stands at 17-12-4-1.
Two accomplished graded-stakes contenders will get their share of support: jockey Jose Lezcano will ride Flying Zee Stable’s 4-year-old filly I Lost My Choo for trainer Phil Serpe and Haras Santa Maria de Araras’ 4-year-old filly Scolara will have Rene Douglas aboard for trainer Bill Mott.
I Lost My Choo is a New York homebred daughter of Western Expression that will be making her first start since finishing fifth as the favorite behind Backseat Rhythm in the Lake Placid Stakes (G2) at Saratoga on Aug. 15. She had captured the Virginia Oaks (G3) at Colonial Downs in her previous start.
I Lost My Choo came to Gulfstream last winter after one start as a 2-year-old, finishing fifth in her debut at Aqueduct, but she won three straight over this course going through her conditions. She went on to finish third in the Appalachian Stakes (G3) at Keeneland in April, third in the Sands Point (G3) at Belmont Park in May and won the Elmont in June prior to the Virginia Oaks.
Scolara was impressive winning the Marion County Stakes over the course here in Feb. 8 by 2¼ lengths against Florida-bred rivals after losing a photo decision when second in the Pago Hop Stakes at Fair Grounds on Dec. 6. The homebred daughter of Quiet American ran a big race to finish third in the Mrs. Revere Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs in November.
Completing the field for the Honey Fox are Three Diamonds Stable’s Cocktail Attire, Team Valor International’s Audacious Chloe, Laue Ranch’s Love Cover, Richard Shulz’ Lemonline, J D Farm’s Ashley River, Farnsworth Stables’ Flibberjibbit, Kinsman Stable’s Fancy Fusaichi, DATTT Stable’s Datts Our Girl, Helen Groves’ Tejida and Dennis Federico’s Waquoit’s Love.
Linda Shanahan’s Rustic Flame is a lone ‘also-eligible’ in the race.
Yesbyjimminy Back at Home in Florida for Sunshine State
Trilogy Stable’s 5-year-old Florida homebred Yesbyjimminy took a six-race win streak from Florida to California for the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita on Jan. 24, but, apparently not handling the Pro-Ride surface, finishing a non-threatening seventh behind Georgie Boy.
Back home in familiar surroundings, Yesbyjimminy bids to get back on track Saturday in the $75,000 Sunshine State Stakes at Gulfstream, facing five rival Florida-breds going seven furlongs with Paco Lopez aboard for trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr.
Lopez was aboard the son of Yes It’s True for the first five of his six victories at Calder over the summer and fall, but missed the mount when he won the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap (G3) on Dec. 13 before going to California.
Lining up against Yesbyjimminy will be Jacqueline Tortora and partners’ Hypocrite, Manoel Cruz; Silly Goose Racing Stable’s Net Present Value, C.H. Marquez, Jr.; Luis Olivares’ Green Vegas, Carlos Olivero; Teresa and David Palmer’s Storm in May, Juan Leyva; and Rose Family Stable’s Hal’s My Hope, Jose A. Rivera II.