03/10/2015 12:15PM

Now that's a tight photo

Courtesy of Gulfstream Park
At first glance, it appears that's the nose of 73-1 shot Palace of Nowhere on the wire for the eighth race last Friday. But a closer look reveals it belongs to favored Stroke Play, who just got up on the outside.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - A tight photo for the win in the eighth race Friday at Gulfstream had some fans howling afterward, and who could blame them?

At first glance, it appeared that Palace of Nowhere, a 73-1 shot, had narrowly defeated Stroke Play, the 11-10 favorite in the 1 1/16-mile turf race.

But the photographic image was something of an optical illusion, and in the end, the Gulfstream placing judges got it right by calling Stroke Play the winner. The horses finished very closely together, and the way their heads were positioned on the wire, it’s initially difficult to tell who is who.

The results were critical in the context of the Rainbow 6 sequence, which has had its jackpot swell. A 73-1 shot makes for a greater likelihood of a single-ticket Rainbow 6 winner, which is what the wager requires for a sweep of the jackpot.

Apprentice gets first U.S. win

Eric Cancel, an 18-year-old native of Puerto Rico, won for the first time in the United States when he guided Little Baker to a head victory in the third race Sunday at Gulfstream.

Angel Cordero Jr., the agent for fellow Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, is booking mounts for Cancel, who will now be competing with a seven-pound apprentice allowance.

Cancel graduated from the jockey school in Puerto Rico, Escuela Vocacional Hipica, in January. Sunday’s win came with just his fourth mount since he began riding here. He was 4 for 32 in Puerto Rico.

Both of Cancel’s parents, Efran Cancel and Gezzela Algarin, are former jockeys in their homeland. His mother, Algarin, was on hand for the Sunday race.

◗ The stakes here this weekend are a pair of $75,000 ungraded races, the Any Limit for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs and the Silks Run for older turf sprinters. Both will be run Saturday. The next graded stakes here are the Inside Information and Royal Delta. Both are Grade 2, $200,000 races set for Saturday, March 21.