While it is true that Nicanor just raced two weeks ago at Keeneland and this is a quick turnaround for him. The Delacour's must feel extremely confident that the race took nothing out of Nicanor and he is ready to go today. Prior to today's two week turnaround, Nicanor's quickest race back has been with a three week break between races. Let's hope he is ready and the fact he has raced at Pimlico before will help him.
Today's race, scheduled to be run at one mile on the turf (if taken off the turf, it will be run on the main track at one mile and one sixteenth), has a talented field, with most coming into the race with extended lay-offs. The race most likely will be used as a prep for some to race next in the $300,000 Dixie Stakes (Grade II), which is on the undercard of the Preakness in three weeks (a race that Nicanor finished sixth in two years ago).
My top three to watch out for are Hudson Steele, Concealed Identity, and Monument Hill. One must look at Todd Pletcher's Hudson Steele (5-2) as the favorite. Hudson Steele is coming off nearly a year lay-off, but he does have to his credit a second place finish in the Fort Marcy Stakes (Grade III) at Belmont Park, and a victory in the Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park. He has been working well at Palm Meadows and should have a good effort today, jockey Chris DeCarlo gets the mount. Concealed Identity (5-1) is also a viable threat. Trained by Linda Gaudet, the four year old Smarty Jones gelded son has been working out well at Bowie training center, and does have two victories on the Pimlico track. With a thirteen month lay-off, it will be interesting to see how he responds today, jockey Sheldon Russell gets the mount. My third threat for Nicanor will be the George Weaver trained six year old gelded son of Royal Academy, Monument Hill. This will be his 5th start of the year, having two wins, a second, and a third, all at Gulfstream Park. His most recent effort was a third place finish on March 31st in the Grade III Appleton Stakes, jockey Joe Rocco gets the mount.
Another tough race for Nicanor today. If he can get to the front from the start, I honestly think he can go gate to wire. He is getting his blinkers back on, and I believe the outside post will help him have clear sailing to the front. Regardless if the race is kept on the turf, or changed to the main track, I think he is capable of winning on either surface. Luis Garcia rides Nicanor for the first time. Also, let's hope Nicanor enjoys the paddock of Pimlico today!
Nicanor in the noisy Pimlico paddock back on May 15, 2010 prior to the running of the Dixie Stakes (Grade II):
The field and conditions:
Race #10, post time 5:24
Henry S. Clark Stakes
Purse $75,000. (Includes $25,000 – MBF - Maryland Bred Fund). For Three-Year-Olds And Upward. By subscription of $100, $250 to pass the entry box. $250 additional to start with $50,000 Guaranteed, (plus $25,000 for Registered Maryland Breds) of which 60% to the winner, 20% to second, 10% to third, 6% to fourth, 3% to fifth and 1% to sixth. Unearned guaranteed purse money is split between the horses that start and finish the race. Weights: Three-Year-Olds, 120 Lbs.; Older, 124 Lbs. Non-winners of a Sweepstakes in 2012 allowed, 2 Lbs.; $50,000 in 2012, 4 Lbs.; $40,000 in 2012 allowed, 6 Lbs. (Maiden, Claiming and Starter races not considered in estimating allowances). Preference to starters with highest career earnings in 2011-12 on the Turf. Horses may be placed on the also-eligible list. Trophy to the owner of the winner. Nominations closed Wednesday April 18, 2012 with 39 nominations. (If deemed inadvisable by management to run this race on the Turf course, it will be run on the main track at One Mile and One Sixteenth) . One Mile. (Turf) (Rail at 20 Feet)
# Horse Age Jockey Trainer M/L Odds
1. El Commodore 5 D Centeno G A Griffith 10/1
3. Concealed Identity 4 S Russell L S Gaudet 5/1
4 . Hudson Steele 5 C P DeCarlo T A Pletcher 5/2
6 . Monument Hill 6 J Rocco, Jr. G Weaver 9/2
7. Paris Vegas 5 A Castellano, Jr. T H Voss 30/1
8. Pocket Patch 7 F Boyce F W Stites 20/1
9. Sleepless Knight 6 E Trujillo K J Breen 8/1
10. Humble and Hungry 4 H Karamanos I Correas, IV 4/1
11. Nicanor 6 Luis Garcia Leigh Delacour 5/1
13. Monzon 4 H Karamanos I Correas, IV 20/1
Here are some photos of Nicanor and Lentenor taken this past Wednesday at Fair Hill (thank you Dewey):