The Brock Talk

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Barbaro Brother Nicanor Tops Virginia Derby

One of the more interesting races this weekend will be the 12th running of the $750,000, grade 2 Virginia Derby from Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va. where Nicanor (photo) has been installed at the 7-2 morning line favorite in the 1-1/4 mile turf race.

Owned by Lael Stables and trained by Michael Matz, Nicanor did not race as a two year old, but collected a tenth and two second place finishes in his first three races of 2009, all on the dirt. After a switch to the turf, the three year old colt broke his maiden by 15 ¼ lengths at Delaware Park on May 13th and won an allowance by 1 ¾ lengths in his most recent start, also on grass. Jockey Jose Lezcano, who guided Summer Doldrums to victory in the ’07 Colonial Turf Cup, has the mount aboard Nicanor.

Trainer Jeff Mullins is returning to Colonial Downs with Battle of Hastings from his west cost base at Santa Anita. The British-bred Battle of Hastings won the grade 2, $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup in June at Colonial Downs and is the second choice in the morning line at 4-1. A double stakes winner in Great Britian before coming to the US to win the Balwin Stakes and the La Puente Stakes on the grass at Santa Anita, Battle of Hastings has won five of ten career starts and $474,592.

Trainer Bill Mott will try for his third Virginia Derby with Hold Me Back (photo), the winner of the grade 2 Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park in mid-march and a dissapointing 12th in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum Brands. Kent Desormeaux will ride.

As usual the Virginia Derby is deep in talent with the first two finishers in the grade 2 Jefferson Cup at Churchills Downs also making the trip. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will saddle Jeff Cup winner Florentino and and George R. Arnold II brings El Crespo to try to avenge his runner-up finish in the Jefferson Cup.

The first and second place finishers in the June 13th Jefferson Cup (Gr. II) at Churchill Downs are next in line at 6-1. Owned by Darley Stable and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Florentino has been on the board in five of eight lifetime starts and has a bankroll of $167,312. Trained by George R. Arnold II, El Crespo, an A.P. Indy colt, finished second in that race by ¾ of a length behind Florentino. With an early race career that mirrors Florentino’s, El Crespo has finished on the board five times in eight starts with lifetime earnings of $167,326. Rider Alan Garcia, who won the ’08 Turf Cup atop Sailor’s Cap, will guide Florentino while Julien Leparoux, who rode Lime Rickey in this year’s Turf up, switches to El Crespo.

The second, third and fourth place finishers in the ’09 Turf Cup are back to challenge. Straight Story, Lime Rickey and Take The Points, one of two Todd Pletcher horses in the field, all seek revenge on Battle of Hastings. Straight Story missed by a head after going eight wide, while Lime Rickey and Take The Points both fell 1¼ lengths shy. Jockey Edgar Prado, who has three Virginia Derby wins, will pilot Take The Points.


Donna McArthur said...

It's nice to see if he can run like his brother. Generally full siblings can either bring you lots of happiness or lots of sadness depending on their ability. Let's hope he takes after his big brother. The Haskell will be good watching as well.

Anonymous said...

I don't think he's as good looking as his brother. Let's see what kind of runner he is.