07/07/2010 11:00PM

Nicanor back on the turf where he thrives


Nicanor, the full brother to 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, will try to capitalize on his affinity for Delaware Park's turf course to record his first stakes victory in Saturday's $100,000 Sussex Stakes.

The Sussex (race 10), scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the grass, and the $100,000 Barbaro, a 1 1/16-mile dirt race for 3-year-olds, are the supporting stakes on an 11-race card topped by the Grade 2, $250,000 Delaware Oaks.

All three of Nicanor's victories have come on the Delaware turf, including a wire-to-wire 2 1/2-length score over four rivals in an optional claimer on June 16. In his lone stakes appearance, the 4-year-old Nicanor was up close at the stretch call of the 1 1/8-mile, Grade 2 Dixie before backing up to sixth in the final furlong.

Nownownow, beaten less than two lengths in a pair of Grade 2 stakes over the past two seasons, and Tybalt, coming off a near-miss in a Grade 3 stakes over Polytrack, are two of the toughest opponents Nicanor must handle.

The 5-year-old Nownownow, was third, beaten 1 3/4 lengths, in the Grade 2 San Pasqual over Santa Anita's synthetic track in his 2010 debut in January. He was also third, beaten a head, on turf in the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz Jr. Handicap at Fair Grounds in March 2009. Nownownow has been off since February, but shows two bullet works at Delaware for his comeback.

Tybalt, based at Arlington Park with trainer Mike Stidham, rallied from seventh to finish second, beaten three-quarters of a length, in the one-mile, Grade 3 Hanshin on May 29. His best race on turf came when he was second in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile in the fall of 2008.

Barbaro: Trickmeister makes stakes debut

Trickmeister, who began his career by winning back-to-back sprints locally, stretches out to two turns for the first time when he makes his stakes debut in the Barbaro (race 7).

"We absolutely love Trickmeister," said trainer Cindy Jones of the son of Proud Citizen. "This is his first route race, but he is bred to go long. He will rate and he will do whatever it takes to win."

Colizeo, winner of the Grade 3 Northern Dancer at Churchill Downs last time out, is the track's morning-line favorite. He, along with second choice Latigo Shore and Wildcat Lake, are cross-entered in Saturday's Long Branch at Monmouth Park.