Barbaro's brother is near the starting gate.
Nicanor, a full brother of the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner whose
story captivated the racing world for months, will race for the
first time either this weekend or next, trainer Michael Matz said
Nicanor had a solid five-furlong work Sunday at the Palm Meadows
Training Center in Boynton Beach, Fla., and if all goes as planned,
the 3-year-old colt will either race on dirt at Gulfstream Park
this weekend or in a turf race the weekend of Feb. 7.
"He's getting there. Either one of the two," said Matz, who
also was Barbaro's trainer. "I'm not sure yet. When we get him
back to the track, we'll see how he is."
A decision will likely come Wednesday, when entries are made for
the Saturday card at Gulfstream.
Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado - who also rode Barbaro and
called his time aboard the horse "the best trip of my life" -
will be aboard Nicanor for the colt's debut, Matz said. Prado rode
Nicanor during a workout two weeks ago at Palm Meadows.
The first three races of Barbaro's career were on turf before he
switched to the dirt for the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream and
won, pointing him toward the 2006 Derby.
Barbaro won the Run for the Roses by 6½ lengths - the largest
victory margin for a Derby winner in 60 years - but saw his racing
career come to a dramatic end at the Preakness, when he shattered
three bones in his right hind leg in the opening strides of that
He defied the odds by surviving for eight months and enduring
close to two dozen surgeries before being euthanized because of
complications related to laminitis, an often life-threatening
problem in horses who shift their weight to one leg in order to
keep pressure off another injured limb.
The second anniversary of Barbaro's death is Thursday, and
there's a certain irony that Nicanor's debut could come on what
will be a bittersweet weekend for Barbaro's connections - Matz and
owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson.
"He has worked like a nice horse," Matz said. "We just have
to see. But yes, I'm excited to have him in the barn right now."