Racing's New Hope—Nicanor

John MossSenior Analyst IJune 9, 2008

He's been called the "Ghost of Barbaro".  Already, people are clamoring to see him run his first race.  His name is Nicanor—and he might be the savior horse racing has been looking for.

Nicanor is by the sire Dynaformer, from the dam La Ville Rouge.  Sound familiar?  It should—Nicanor is the full brother of national darling Barbaro, winner of the 2006 Kentucky Derby.

Nicanor has yet to run a single race.  Sercretariat had a sister and Seattle Slew had a brother, neither of which turned out to be half as good as their famous siblings.

Who knows how good Nicanor will actually be.  He can look and act exactly like his brother, which he does.  Racing like his that's something entirely different.

But on the morning of June 7, the same day Big Brown failed to become horse racing's 12th Triple Crown winner, Nicanor posted his first official workout:  Three furlongs in 0:39 seconds flat.

If the racing gods were against brash trainer Rick Dutrow and the IEAH owners of Big Brown, they have to be smiling at the sight of Nicanor.

His owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, earned the respect and admiration of every racing fan for their unyielding attempt to save Barbaro's life.

His trainer, Michael Matz, is an Olympic equestrian champion, and champion of a different sort after saving the lives of three children during a plane crash years ago.

Maybe it's too early to call Nicanor the "savior" of the sport.  But here's to hoping Nicanor puts on a performance in the 2009 Kentucky Derby that is eerily similar to his brother's win in 2006.

If not...there's always 2010, when Barbaro's second full-brother, Lentenor, will be three years old.

*** Update:  Nicanor is entered Saturday, January 31 in the eighth race at Gulfstream Park.  He is the morning line favorite at 4-1 ***