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Friday, January 22, 2010

Barbaro's bro Lentenor impressive in win

Mike Welsch,
Daily Racing Form

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Anyone who doubts that the Barbaro legacy lives on or that his supporters are as passionate as ever need only have been around the winner's circle following Lentenor's impressive victory in Wednesday's nightcap.

Shouts of support rang out through the card as Lentenor - who as a son of Dynaformer and La Ville Rouge is Barbaro's full brother - and trainer Michael Matz and his entourage had their picture taken after the race. Several dozen other well-wishers made their way down to the winner's enclosure, where they instantly produced cell phones or pocket cameras and began snapping an endless number of souvenir photos of the promising 3-year-old after his maiden win.

"I guess there's a lot of pressure on every time he runs because of who he is," Matz said when asked about the crowd that had assembled around the winner's circle. "But I'll take that pressure every time. Having this many fans is a great tribute not only to Barbaro but also to Dynaformer and the mare. They certainly are a good match."

John Velazquez was a late replacement on Lentenor for Jose Lezcano, who took off the remainder of his mounts after going down in a spill earlier in the day. Lentenor raced within striking position in Monday's finale, a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight event on the turf. He withstood a strong challenge from Rock America approaching the stretch, drawing off with authority once set down at the head of the lane to register a 3 1/2-length triumph.

Lentenor had raced twice before, finishing third at Keeneland and second at Aqueduct.

"He's a good horse who was a little unlucky in his first two starts," said Matz, who trained Barbaro and now Lentenor for the Lael Stable. "He's a big boy and still immature. That's what the whole family is like. You just need to give them time and if you do, they'll perform."

Velazquez, who was aboard Lentenor for the first time on Monday, told Matz after the race that his horse was "on the muscle" from the outset.

"It was beautiful the way he did it once I got him going after that other horse ran at us," said Velazquez. "And he galloped out unbelievable."

Matz said he will assess how Lentenor comes out of the race before making any firm decisions regarding his next start.

"He really needed the experience he got out there today," said Matz. "He works well on the dirt, so it's possible we might try him in a first -level allowance race over it or perhaps look for a stakes on the grass.

Matz also reported that Lentenor's older brother Nicanor is about ready to begin breezing again. Matz stopped on Nicanor following the second of his two consecutive turf victories, which came at Delaware Park on June 17. Nicanor, now 4, had won his maiden by 15 lengths in his grass debut five weeks earlier.

"He had some bruising on his fetlocks so we just decided to give him time," said Matz. "He's had a couple of two-minute licks at Palm Meadows, and he'll have his first easy breeze next week. You should see him. He's grown so much and really filled out during the time off. If how he looks is any indication of how he'll run this summer, he should have a very good year."

* It was reported Thursday that La Ville Rouge aborted a full sibling to Barbaro, Nicanor, and Lentenor on Dec. 24. The mare is boarded at Mill Ridge Farm in central Kentucky.

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