01/18/2008 12:00AM

Barbaro's little brothers progressing

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Nearly one year after Barbaro's death, the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner's two full brothers, 2-year-old Nicanor and an unnamed yearling, are doing well. But it's too soon to say whether either will be able to fill his brother's shoes.

Nicanor is in training with the Stephens Thoroughbreds operation of John and Jill Stephens in Morriston, Fla., the same place Barbaro received his early training. The colt has progressed to 1o1/4-mile gallops, according to John Stephens, and could have his first breeze about mid-February. When he's ready, Stephens will ship him on to trainer Michael Matz.

"He's physically a very attractive colt," Stephens said. "Conformationally, he's pretty correct, and substance-wise, he has some scope. He doesn't have the length of leg Barbaro had at this point. Barbaro was gawkier at this stage, and Nicanor is a more attractive horse at this point.

"But none of that means anything until they can outrun something in the afternoon," he added.

Gretchen Jackson, who will head to Florida to see Nicanor again in about a week, also takes a cautious view.

"There's such heavy expectation put on him," she said. "You try not to, and you just hope he does something."

Barbaro's youngest sibling, a 2007 Dynaformer colt, is still gamboling around a pasture with about a dozen other yearlings at Mill Ridge Farm in Lexington. He is powerfully built but, like Nicanor and Barbaro, is of good size for his age.

"You can certainly see some Carson City coming out in him, because he has that muscling and stature," said Mill Ridge manager Bayne Welker. Their dam, La Ville Rouge, is by Carson City. "But his markings are more similar to Barbaro's than Nicanor's, because he has that star and a snip."

And the youngest brother appears to have some of the family charisma, Welker said.

"He is a spirited young horse who always feels good," he said. "He kind of has that aura around him."

For now, both bay colts are living out of the limelight, and that's good, say the horsemen overseeing their development.

"The Jacksons have been in this long enough to know there's no pressure," Stephens said. "We're all keeping it low-key, and Nicanor is getting to be a horse just like any other horse."

La Ville Rouge is not in foal this year, but plans call for her to be bred back to Dynaformer in February.

"I hope for the Barbaro fan base and for the Jacksons' sake that, somewhere down the line, La Ville Rouge catches lightning in a bottle a second time," Welker said.

Bridlewood should still flourish

When Bridlewood Farm owner Arthur Appleton died on Jan. 15, he left the farm's future secure.

"Mr. Appleton absolutely loved the farm," said Bridlewood's general manager, George Isaacs. "It was one of his grand passions, along with the Appleton Museum," located in Ocala. "He guaranteed several years ago that he would make both his biggest legacies. It's full steam ahead."

Isaac has been general manager since 1996 and saw the farm through its transition from a private breeding establishment to a commercial one.

"As a brilliant businessman, Mr. Appleton had always wanted it to be profitable, but things had never lined up for them to do that," Isaacs said. "When he hired me, he asked me, 'Can you make Bridlewood profitable?' "

The answer was yes, and Appleton gave Isaacs free rein. Building on what he called "an extremely strong foundation," Isaacs encouraged Appleton to sell stock. One of their early commercial successes was Southern Image, who was in Bridlewood's first major 2-year-old consignment with Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. in 2002. He brought $300,000 and went on to be a multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire.

Isaacs said the 960-acre farm has been profitable for more than a decade. It now stands 15 stallions, including 10th-ranked third-crop sire Put It Back; it also launched the stud career of Stormy Atlantic, now at Hill 'n' Dale in Kentucky.

Isaacs said Appleton's daughter, Linda Potter, and sons Thomas, Arthur Jr., James, and William also have an active interest in Bridlewood.

"They're all heirs to Bridlewood Farm," he said. "It will be a family concern for the next part of the journey."

OBS mixed sale posts gains

The Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s winter mixed auction ended Friday evening with two open sessions posting increases in gross, average, and median.

The two open sessions sold 381 horses for $2,493,900, up 13 percent from last year's $2,206,600 for 383 horses. Average rose 14 percent, from $5,761 to $6,546. The median gained 18opercent, rising from $3,800 to $4,500. But buy-backs also increased, from 25 percent last year to 29 percent.

Friday's session topper was a $45,000 yearling filly by Include out of stakes winner Teerrific Sue that the Summerfield agency sold to Ponder Hill Farm.

The sale topper was a $95,000 yearling Posse colt out of stakes-placed Navarro Rose. Josham Farms Ltd., agent, bought the colt from Journeyman Bloodstock, agent.

* Wagon Limit, whose relocation from Kentucky to Moon Lake Farm in Louisiana was announced last week, will stand for $2,500. The 14-year-old Conquistador Cielo horse is the sire of Grade 1 winner Silver Wagon.