Electric Flash caught Mr. Nickerson just before the finish Saturday and won the $87,300 Swift Stakes for 3-year-olds by a half-length at Aqueduct.
Eddie Maple took Electric Flash up the middle of the track to overtake Mr. Nickerson, who had led most of the way in what turned out to be a battle of longshots.
Mr. Nickerson, ridden by Herb McCauley, finished three-quarters of a length in front of Detonated, ridden by Julie Krone.
Texian, the favorite, finished sixth in the eight-horse field.
The Swift is the first of four New York races designed to test Triple Crown hopefuls. The others are the seven-furlong Bay Shore, the one-mile Gotham and the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial.
Electric Flash, Mr. Nickerson, Detonated and Texian are nominated for the Triple Crown races. Texian carried 123 pounds, while the other three were weighted at 114.
The winner was timed in 1:11 for the six furlongs.
The victory was the second in six career starts for Electric Flash, a Kentucky-bred colt trained by Jack Van Berg. The colt’s only previous win came in a $75,000 maiden claiming race at Aqueduct Jan. 5.
Electric Flash earned $52,380 for owner Helen C. Alexander and returned $28.80, $14 and $6.80. Mr. Nickerson paid $10.80 and $6.60, and Detonated paid $3 to show.