03/15/2004 12:00AM

Nopex headlines quiet card


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - It didn't take long for the post-Florida Derby blues to set in at Gulfstream Park.

The racing office struggled to put together Wednesday's nine-race card. Aside from a pair of maiden turf events for 3-year-olds and the presence of the undefeated Brazilian-bred Nopex in the only allowance race of the day, the card is unappealing.

, a son of Jules, won his first two starts in Brazil last winter. He won a 6 1/2-furlong maiden dirt race by nine lengths, and then took a Group 3 turf race by 6 1/2 lengths. He was purchased privately by Earle Mack last fall and turned over to Kiaran McLaughlin.

McLaughlin was hoping to get Nopex ready for the UAE Derby, run March 27 in Dubai, but McLaughlin couldn't get a race for Nopex beforehand and didn't want to run him in the UAE Derby off a year layoff. Nopex has been training steadily at Palm Meadows and gets Lasix for the first time in this seven-furlong second-level allowance race. Nopex, to be ridden by Jerry Bailey, breaks from post 4 in the six-horse field.

The horse to beat is , a former McLaughlin trainee who has made his last two starts for Stanley Hough. Canadian Frontier has won two of his last three starts, including a 2 1/2-length score in an entry-level allowance race here Feb. 7. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 95 in that race, but he must prove that he can get the seven-furlong distance. Edgar Prado rides.

Boston Bull, who at age 2 won the Grade 3 Cowdin Stakes at Belmont, makes his first start since Aug. 20. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Boston Bull ran only twice as a 3-year-old last year and was soundly beaten both times. He gets blinkers again after Pletcher experimented without them last time.

Y.V. Five could be interesting at a price. A 4-year-old son of Storm Boot, Y.V. Five cuts back to seven furlongs after attempting nine furlongs in an off-the-turf race Feb. 15. In January, Y.V. Five finished third behind Tomahawk in a swiftly run race at this condition. Eibar Coa rides for trainer Carlos Morales.

Any Way at All returns to seven furlongs, the distance at which both of his career victories have come. He comes out of a third-place finish in a 6 1/2-furlong race here Feb. 28.

Longshot Halos for Hibiscus completes the field.