February 17, 2010

Lentenor Lift-Off?

Born with his own fan base, to say Lentenor has been watched closely throughout his young life would be a major understatement. The attractive bay son of Dynaformer and La Ville Rouge has yet to disappoint his throngs of followers. His latest race was a sharp maiden score over the Gulfstream Park turf course in a maiden special weight. Today the competition will get more contentious for Lentenor, as he takes on winners for the first time. Eleven other three-year-olds are entered for the race, including several promising turfers. The Kiaran McLaughlin trained pair of Saint Eligius and Krypton, and turf winners Stately Victor, Doubles Partner, and Becky‘s Kitten head the opposition. Make no mistake, though, all eyes will be on Lentenor.

Lentenor has made a solid progression in each of his three starts. He began his career last Fall with a good effort on Keeneland’s synthetic surface. At a distance probably not best suited for him, seven furlongs, Lentenor showed promise in waiting, angling out, and running on well late for a third place finish. In his second career start, he tried turf for the fist time in a 1 1/16 maiden race at Aqueduct. Despite a very testing trip, Lentenor kept trying and was second only defeated by half a length. It looked light he might blow by at the eighth pole, but he appeared to have gotten a little tired late, after taking much the worst of the racing luck during the race. Once again it may have been a defeat, but it was an improvement over the first race and was enough to keep hopes high. In his third race, Lentenor showed everything you would want to see from a future stakes horse. Closer to the pace this time, he stalked the early leader, pounced on the turn, and then turned away strong opposition as they straightened out. He won going away and the time for 1 1/16 race was solid. The win sets him up nicely for today’s race and points him out as strictly the horse to beat.

Coglianese Photo

With a winning performance today, Lentenor will likely step on to the path of his older, full brother, Barbaro, who left the comforts of the turf course to tackle bigger things on the dirt. In 2006, Barbaro used a victory in the Florida Derby to propel himself to a tour de force win in the Kentucky Derby. Lentenor’s connections of trainer Michael Matz and owner’s Roy and Gretchen Jackson are the same team who campaigned Barbaro. In Barbaro they had a wonderful horse who’s life was cut tragically short. He took them to monumental highs, and then unspeakable lows. His connections proved to be of great class throughout the saga, and millions would love to see them rewarded with another top horse. I, for one, would love to see Lentenor given a chance in the Florida Derby.

Barbaro was a beautiful horse, and I understand why so many have rooted so vociferously for his brothers Nicanor and Lentenor. I took the attitude, to wait and see what kind of horses they were before rooting too hard. I had no intention of becoming a big fan/believer only because they were brothers of Barbaro. Clearly Nicanor had talent, but has had health issues. In Lentenor, I see even more potential. I have studied the films of his first three races closely, and I really think the Jacksons and Matz are on to something here. Lentenor has the look of a horse that is getting better and better with development. If he remains healthy, I have little doubt that he will become a stakes horse. It is a little too early for me to tout him as a Derby horse yet, but I certainly can not dismiss him either. Today, I expect a victory, and after that the possibilities become a whole lot more exciting.

11 comments:

Sarah Grice said...

Thanks for this article, Brian! Please keep us up to date on his progress!

Anonymous said...

thanks brian....looking forward to the race, looks highly competetive..you know who ill be rooting for..st. eligius..william

Brian Zipse said...

Thank you Sarah. William, you predicted St. Eligius would win first out on turf, and he did, so I am not surprised you are sticking with him. I respect him in here, but I like Lentenor better.

C T Coleman said...

One again ZATT hits the nail on the head by taking the wait and see approach with Lentenor. Lentenor has plenty of potential no doubt he possesses a large distance gobbling stride that is virtually a prerequisite for being an excellent turf horse. However the key word is Potential; according to my father Potential is French for haven’t done squat (not the word he used) yet. Now im not diminishing his maiden score an 87 is a solid Beyer however I feel as if Lentenor hasn’t be facing that good company. I am not suggesting that he shouldn’t handle this field I just feel like a 3-1 ML would be a gift. We have all seen this scenario a few times before where one of Barbaros brothers runs and the odds normally 6-5 or worse. I love Barbaro, Matz, and Lael Stables the connections are a class act and great for this game, but it seems like everyone crushes the brothers at the window and isn’t worth the wager. In a field like this I’d much rather back a more tested horse at this stage in Lentenors career. I feel as if the best tested horse in the field is the number 3 Stately Victor who in his five races has ran Winslow Homer, Nobles Promise, Aikenite, and Drosselmeyr. In his only try on the turf he won posting a Beyer of 80 going 8.5 furlongs. But most importantly he is 8-1 morning line and if people crush Lentenor like I expect them to SV could see the likes of 10-1 couple that with Joe Bravo who is historically an excellent turf rider especially coming from well off the pace and wide. Yes Jersey Joe is winning only 10 percent but yet is ITM 44 percent of the time so there is the answer I’m going to take SV to WPS n hopefully catch a nice payout.

Brian Zipse said...

C T C, your points are well taken. I would caution you that Satately Victor has not threatened the horses you spoke of, but I saw his impressive turf race at Saratoga. He is one of the ones Lentenor will have to beat. Like I said this is not an easy field.

LDP said...

I too am waiting to see if Lentenor will progress off his maide. I really hope he does, because if he were to make it to the Derby that would probably be the biggest media and feel good story there. He is a very talented colt. I hope he proves it against this very solid field today.

Rechelle D said...

Brian, from what I've heard, Nicanor is back in training. With any luck, his next race or two will be a stakes race. Regardless of him grabbing his quarter in his first race and the bruise that scratched him from his last race, you can't deny that Nicanor has tremendous talent! He is just immature and I think will become a better racehorse as he ages. The blinkers definitely helped him and I thought he needed them after I saw his first race. I'm not yet convinced that Lentenor doesn't need them also, he seems to get easily distracted once he has the lead. Sorry, it just seemed like you detracted from Nicanor's talent in your blog. Unlike Barbaro & Lentenor, Nicanor is still immature, but he will improve as he ages & gains experience. I have no doubt, had he run in the Viriginia Derby, that he would've been on the board, if not won. His losses came to some very talented horses who went on to become stakes winners.

After watching the race today, I think if Velazquez would've let Lentenor go sooner, he would've won, but Double's Partner ran a fantastic race today! The top three horses in the race were great today, better than I'd expect in an allowance race. I think the three of them will go on the be stakes horses and it'd be great to see all of them in the Kentucky Derby.

Brian Zipse said...

I did not mean to detract from Nicanor, Rechelle. He obviously has talent, but for now unproven talent. I hope he comes back healthy as an older horse this year and gets a chance in stakes racing. My opinion is that Lentenor will have a bigger future of the two. I agree that all three of the horses horses that finished well today will be in stakes in the near future.

Kimness said...

It worked!!

Michael said...

testing

Kimness said...

Matz said Lentenor ran 'green' - he didn't look all that green to me, but I wasn't there. I hope he improves. All 3 top finishers ran a great, very competitive race!!