10/02/2015 12:00PM

Eyes turn toward Barbaro’s brothers at stud

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Barbaro, winning the 2005 Laurel Futurity, has two full brothers at stud.

Ten years ago on Sunday, Barbaro won his career debut at Delaware Park – launching a six-race win streak to begin his career, culminating with a dominating performance in the following spring’s Kentucky Derby. But if that streak captured the racing world’s imagination, it was nothing compared to what commenced two weeks following in the Preakness Stakes, when the colt pulled up with severe injuries in the first quarter-mile of the race and captivated the nation with his fight to survive over the next eight months.

Barbaro ultimately succumbed to laminitis, a complication from his injury, on Jan. 29, 2007, never making it to stud. But waiting in the wings were four full brothers to the classic winner: Nicanor, Lentenor, Margano, and Pennmarydel. As expected, all four have become the subject of intense interest. All four runners, based at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., as Barbaro was, have been moderately successful performers. Nicanor and Lentenor are now regional sires with their first yearlings coming to the market – including a handful of yearlings at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic yearling sale this month.

Pennsylvania-based owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson – who race under the nom de course Lael Stables – privately purchased the dam of their most popular runners, La Ville Rouge, after she finished second in the Grade 3 Tempted Stakes as a juvenile in 1998. She continued a productive career, finishing second in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel Stakes and third in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Handicap and Grade 2 Long Island Handicap. She retired with six wins from 25 starts and earnings of $262,594.

La Ville Rouge, boarded at Mill Ridge Farm in Kentucky for the Jacksons, has produced six starters; of her five winners, four are stakes winners. She is best known for the offspring sired by the late Three Chimneys stallion Dynaformer, whose court she visited for the first time in the spring of 2002.

Nicanor

At the Jacksons’ home in Pennsylvania hangs a painting of a 19th-century French nobleman’s foxhounds. The couple named La Ville Rouge’s first Dynaformer colt, Barbaro, for one of those foxhounds. Three years later, they returned to the painting for inspiration to name the mare’s second son of Dynaformer, Nicanor. Just a few weeks after Nicanor’s birth, Barbaro won the Florida Derby to run his record to 5 for 5 entering the Kentucky Derby – which he won by a smashing 6 1/2 lengths two weeks before the fateful Preakness.

In the eye of intense public interest, Nicanor began his racing career in 2009. He was initially under the care of former Olympian Michael Matz, who had also trained Barbaro – but later was transferred to the string of Leigh Delacour, another Fair Hill-based trainer, when the Jacksons and Matz abruptly parted ways in the summer of 2011.

Nicanor won 4 of 18 career starts for earnings of $147,697. While not as brilliant as Barbaro, he displayed some of the versatility his elder brother was acclaimed for, finishing third in the Sussex Stakes on dirt at Delaware Park and third in the Three Coins Up Stakes on turf at Aqueduct.

Nicanor remained in his adopted home state for his stallion career, entering stud in the spring of 2013 at Shamrock Farm in Woodbine, Md., about 90 miles from Fair Hill. According to statistics provided by The Jockey Club, he covered 22 mares in his initial season at stud.

Nicanor has five yearlings cataloged for the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale, three consigned by Shamrock as agent.

Lentenor

Lentenor was foaled in the spring of 2007, and his moniker also comes from a foxhound in the painting. Like Nicanor, the colt began his career with Matz before being transferred to Delacour.

Lentenor was a successful runner at his level, establishing a course record while winning an optional-claiming event at Tampa Bay Downs in December 2011, running 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:40.95. The following year, he won the Kitten’s Joy Stakes at Colonial Downs by a head. He eventually retired with four wins from 17 starts for earnings of $184,406.

Lentenor entered stud in the spring of 2013 at historic Calumet Farm in Lexington, Ky., which was in the process of building up its stallion operation after coming under the ownership of Brad Kelley the year prior. Kelley later expanded the reach of his operation by moving a number of his stallions to regional markets, and Lentenor relocated in 2014 to Indiana Stallion Station in Anderson, Ind. His popularity saw an uptick in the regional market; while he covered just six mares in his first season at Calumet, that number grew to 22 in his first year in Indiana, according to The Jockey Club. That represented a significant boost, as the average book size for stallions in Indiana that season was 8.3 mares.

Three yearlings from Lentenor’s first crop of six were offered at the Keeneland September yearling sale, with all three selling. The top price was a $3,200 filly.

Margano

The gelding Margano – named for a fourth foxhound in the painting – is in the midst of a productive career, with five wins from 28 starts for earnings of $363,819. That includes victories in the 2013 Eight Thirty Stakes at Delaware and the 2014 PTHA President’s Cup Stakes at Parx Racing. He has placed in four other stakes, most notably finishing third in the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap last year at Aqueduct.

Margano is trained by Arnaud Delacour – Leigh’s husband – after beginning his career with Barclay Tagg in New York. Now in his fifth season of racing, the gelding most recently finished third in his bid for a repeat in the PTHA President’s Cup on Sept. 12.

Pennmarydel

Pennmarydel’s name is in keeping with those of his full siblings; the gelding is named for the Penn-Marydel foxhound, a breed that has flourished in the tri-state region. A May foal, Pennmarydel didn’t debut until this season at age 4. Arnaud Delacour has saddled the gelding to finish second in two of his three starts to date, most recently a runner-up effort Aug. 2 on the Parx turf. The gelding is entered to run Sunday at Keeneland.

Pennmarydel was the final Dynaformer foal produced by La Ville Rouge; the stallion died in 2012 at Three Chimneys. The mare delivered a filly by Bernardini – who, coincidentally, won the 2006 Preakness – in the spring of 2013, named Mo’ne Davis for a Philadelphia native who became a Little League sensation. La Ville Rouge, now 19, produced another Bernardini filly last February at Mill Ridge.

Frank More than 1 year ago
just goes to show how precious these thoroughbreds are -- we were gifted with such greatness and talent with Barbaro. He is gone and we are left with nothing to match his greatness....
Janet Hills More than 1 year ago
Why were the last two brothers gelded?
FrostyFeast More than 1 year ago
There's not really a need to have 4 full brothers on the stallion market unless they've earned their way through racing. Dynaformer didn't sire the prettiest obabies (and you'll notice a lot of geldings among his higher achievers for a reason), and he had a nasty disposition which I'm sure could've been passed on sometimes. It might be an uphill battle to market Margano and Pennmarydel to breeders based on either their appearance or their foals' appearance so they geld them and try to refocus on a racing career. There's a possibility that they wouldn't be able to get mare interest without better racing, but they couldn't sharpen their attention and race better without being gelded so you might have to just do that and call it a day. I know Pennmarydel is huge, something like 17.2 or so. He took awhile to get to the races and apparently finished 6th today in his 4th attempt to break his maiden. I think they know he and Margano can have nice careers but there's not gonna be anybody wanting to breed to them any more than to Nicanor or Lentenor who are already available. We also don't know the temperament situation.
FrostyFeast More than 1 year ago
obabies? Wow, random letter I never typed. Sorry. *babies obviously.
Debra Chambers More than 1 year ago
Wonderful article! Thank you! Barbaro will always be in our hearts and loved to the moon and back!
Greg Jones More than 1 year ago
Great read Nicole, thank you. To add regarding Pennmarydel's name, Roy Jackson's dad was responsible for bringing the Penn-Marydel foxhound to America in 1929.
mike More than 1 year ago
Greg,wanted to say hello,hope you're well.
Tom Dubrick More than 1 year ago
Nice piece. barbaro fondly remembered incl. early wins at G.P. And that Ky. derby. Tpd