12/12/2011 2:01PM

Tampa Bay Downs: Delacour barn on the rise and boosted by new client

Barbara D. Livingston
Lentenor, a full brother to Barbaro, is one of the Lael Stable horses now in the Delacour barn.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – Leigh Delacour’s stable has been rising in prominence since Delacour, a onetime assistant to trainer Graham Motion, and her husband, Arnaud, a former assistant to Christophe Clement, went out on their own in 2007.

The stable has gained a reputation as an organization that uses a European approach in the development of young stock and careful placement of its proven runners.

Having impressed horseplayers at Tampa Bay Downs in recent winters with their turf horses, the Delacour outfit added a prominent new client midway through the 2011 season when the Lael Stable of Roy and Gretchen Jackson sent 10 horses to the Delacours to train. Known most prominently as the owners of the brilliant but ill-fated 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, the Jacksons have been active owners since 1978 and since Roy retired from a career in baseball management. The Jacksons have had horses in training at several tracks while also being active buyers and consigners at the major sales venues in North America and Europe.

“The Jacksons are lovely people who really know the horse business, and we were very excited when they contacted us about taking some horses for them,” said Leigh Delacour, 31. “It’s always nice to deal with owners who understand horses and the problems involved with developing and training Thoroughbreds, and the Jacksons are just such owners. They like things done the right way and understand that patience is often the key word in the development of young runners.”

Among the horses the Jacksons sent to the Delacour stable are two full brothers to Barbaro, Lentenor and Nicanor. Lentenor has a win and a third since moving to his new barn, and Delacour reports they hope to run him at Tampa in an allowance race on Dec. 23. Nicanor has been turned out for a freshening and has just started back galloping. He will probably see action late in the meeting.

Speaking of the state of the stable in general, Delacour said, “We have a nice mix of young runners and older types this season, and we’re cautiously optimistic that this will be a good winter for us.”

◗ Lynn Scace, who had a subpar meet by her standards last season, has gotten off to a good start at this meeting with two winners already. Her crack sprinter It’s Me Mom served notice she could be a handful in the upcoming Minaret Stakes when she smoked a field of allowance sprinters here last Wednesday. It’s Me Mom covered the six furlongs in 1:10.00 and earned a 91 Beyer Speed Figure. It’s Me Mom has now won 4 of her last 5 starts with her last three wins coming against older rivals.

◗ Trainer Gerald Bennett knew he had a fast dirt sprinter in Gibson, but that Gibson County gelding showed he had another dimension to his arsenal when he blitzed a good field of allowance turf sprinters last Friday, covering the five furlongs in a very quick 55.96 seconds, good for an 89 Beyer. Bennett reports he’s considering the Pelican Stakes on Jan. 7 or a Florida-bred stake at Gulfstream for Gibson’s next start.

◗ Leandro Goncalves and Daniel Coa are tied for the lead in the rider standings with 5 wins each with last year’s leading rider, Ron Allen Jr. a win back. Rosemary Homeister Jr., Irwin Rosendo, Pablo Morales, and Pedro Cotto Jr. each has 3 wins.

◗ Derek Ryan’s stable went through a period of adjustment this past summer after he parted ways with owner Eric Fein. Ryan sent out 58 winners for Fein during their time together. but the Irish-born Ryan served notice he’s moving on nicely with his career after sending out two winners on Saturday’s card. He won the fourth race with I’m Not Myself ($7.40), then came back to take the nightcap on the turf with Holy Highway ($16.80). Ryan has 15 head at Tampa this winter.