Barbaro’s Baby Brother

Bloged in Barbaro by admin Thursday March 22, 2007

With all the racing sites happily reporting that Barbaro’s
yearling brother now has a name, Nicanor, after another
foxhound in the same painting from which Barbaro’s name
was taken, I thought I would take a look at what has
happens to the younger siblings of other great racehorses.

The truth is that a breeder is about as likely to catch
lightning in a bottle as to produce multiple champions of
the same parentage. Yet the odds against getting any
champion at all are so enormous that breeders have to stay
with formulas that have worked. And when a baby with a
successful older sibling hits the auction ring, its
relationship to a star will often compensate for some
questionable conformation.

Without doing any research, I was able to come up with
five sets of siblings who had done their parents
exceptionally proud on the track.

Nantallah and Rough Shod II’s son and daughter, Ridan and
Moccasin, were both undefeated at two, each winning seven
races. Moccasin was named 1965 Horse of the Year, and
Ridan went on to participate in one of the great races of
the 20th century, the 1962 Travers Stakes, when he and
Jaipur ran a match race for the entire
mile-and-one-quarter, to have a single nose separating
them at the finish.

1962 champion older mare Primonetta, and her full brother,
1963 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner,
and three-year–old champion, Chateaugay, were the
offspring of Swaps and Banquet Bell.

Wheatley Stable campaigned the champion two-year-old colts
of 1964 and 1966, Bold Lad and Successor, who were sons
of their great sire Bold Ruler and Broodmare of the Year,
Misty Morn.

And the breathtaking 1969 Majestic Prince, who won the
1969 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and was America’s
champion three-year-old, had his brother Crowned Prince
named champion two-year–old in England after only two
races.

The final pair of champions I could recall was Canadian
Horse of the Year in filly Glorious Song and her brother,
the undefeated U.S. two-year-old champion of 1983, Devil’s
Bag. A third brother, Saint Ballado, was a Group Two
winner in England, but his importance has been in the
breeding shed, where he sired 64 stakes winners and two
champions, Saint Liam and Ashado, before his premature
death at age 13. Herbager and Ballade were their sire and
dam.

I drew a blank after that, so I went to Google and started
searching on the names of the Thoroughbreds who were
named by Bloodhorse Magazine as the top three performers
of the 20th century. The results were most enlightening.

Man o’ War? His full brother My Play won only nine times
in four years.

Native Dancer? No siblings of note.

And finally, Secretariat. Secretariat’s dam,
Somethingroyal, produced two full siblings to the immortal
chestnut. The first, a filly, Syrian Sea, won two stakes
as a two-year-old, and became a great broodmare in her own
right. Secretariat’s owner Penny Chenery said of the
second, a filly named The Bride, “She couldn’t beat a fat
man running downhill.”

Will Nicanor be another Barbaro? No one knows, and there is
only one certainty about his career: if and when he is
saddled for his first race, he will be carrying, along
with his jockey, the hopes and memories of thousands of
racing fans.

Picture of Nicanor (Barbaro’s Baby Brother)

nicanor1.jpg

Pictures of Nicanor and his mother La Ville Rouge

nicanor2.jpg

nicanor3.jpg

nicanor4.jpg

Picture of La Ville Rouge (Barbaro’s mother)

nicanor5.jpg

Barbaro, Laminitis, and Learning to Let Go

Bloged in Barbaro by admin Thursday February 1, 2007

While the horse world is still mourning the loss of
Barbaro, more details about what led to the decision to
euthanize him are coming to light. Jennie Rees of the
Louisville Courier-Journal reports today that Barbaro, in
addition to having an abscess and two extra pins
surgically implanted in his left hind leg, had developed
laminitis in both front feet.The threat of laminitis, from the outset of Barbaro’s
recovery, was lurking as the greatest obstacle to his
survival. The disease occurs when the hoof lamina, tissue
supplying blood and connecting the exterior of the hoof
coffin bone to the hoof wall, is weakened or dies
completely.

Laminitis most often occurs when a horse’s digestive
tract, after the animal has overeaten on rich grain or
pasture, experiences a change in its bacterial
composition. The change will release toxins into the
horse’s blood, interfering with blood circulation in the
hooves.

But it can also occur, as it did with Barbaro, when one
or more of the horse’s legs has to bear a
disproportionate amount of weight, so that an extended
period of lameness in one leg almost guarantees laminitis
in another.

Because horses, as prey animals, are not physiologically
designed to spend long periods off their feet–although
Barbaro, it has been reported, was very smart about lying
down to sleep at night–there is little chance that they
can keep weight off an injured foot long enough for
complete healing. So their other legs have to compensate,
and, unfortunately, they are not designed to do so.

A healthy horse will normally bear two-thirds of its
weight on its front feet; this means that, with a horse of
one thousand pounds, two front hooves the size of a large
man’s hands are each carrying about 340 pounds.

Barbaro’s front hooves, since last July, when he had
laminitis surgery on his left rear hoof, had very likely
been under strain; that they remained laminitis–free for
as long as they did is a testament to the quality of care
he was receiving.

Barbaro is not the first Kentucky Derby winner to have
succumbed to laminitis; Foolish Pleasure, who ironically
was the winner of the 1975 match race in which the great
filly Ruffian, like Barbaro, shattered an ankle; Sunday
Silence, who won the race from his arch-rival Easy Goer
in 1989, and went on to be the greatest stallion in
Japanese racing history; and, of course, the
incomparable Secretariat, considered by many to be the
greatest racehorse who ever lived, were all euthanized
because of the disease.

Unfortunately for Foolish Pleasure and Sunday Silence,
their handlers, in attempts to save them, prolonged their
suffering.

The willingness of Barbaro’s owners, Roy and Gretchen
Jackson, to keep his welfare paramount, even when it
meant losing him, is the bright spot I see in his tragic
ending.

If other owners of “important” horses, faced with the
same decision, instead of trying for economic or
sentimental reasons to save their animals, will from now
on emulate the Jacksons, Barbaro’s legacy will be special
indeed.

barbarorip.jpg

Farewell, Barbaro

Bloged in Barbaro by admin Wednesday January 31, 2007

From your days at the Fair Hills Training Center, to the
entry of your spirit, this morning, into the fair hills of
eternity, Barbaro, you were a reminder, to all of us who
love horses, of why we do, and why we will keep on loving
them in spite of the inevitable heartbreak that love will
bring.

We, as humans, do not, and cannot, understand the mystery
of the horse; how even in the confines of a stall they carry
within them all the vast open spaces of the earth; how,
although we may saddle them in arrogance, without their
strength and swiftness, we, as a species, may not have
survived; and how to mount a horse is to embark on a
journey of mastering not the horse, but oneself, and then
the world.

And when we lost you, Barbaro, who were the symbol of
courage, endurance, patience, and a desire to overcome, we
lost a being who, for a short time, became a bridge between
those of us who cannot imagine a world without horses and
those who, before you, had known nothing of them.

I will never forget you, Barbaro, as I will never forget
the images I have seen of the great Ruffian, and Go for
Wand, and Landaluce, and Pine Island, who were all taken
from us before their time. And I hope, if there are
stallion and broodmare bands in heaven, that you have them
all in yours.

Tribute to Barbaro Video

Farewell, Barbaro

Bloged in Barbaro by admin Monday January 29, 2007

From your days at the Fair Hills Training Center, to the
entry of your spirit, this morning, into the fair hills of
eternity, Barbaro, you were a reminder, to all of us who
love horses, of why we do, and why we will keep on loving
them in spite of the inevitable heartbreak that love will
bring.

We, as humans, do not, and cannot, understand the mystery
of the horse; how even in the confines of a stall they carry
within them all the vast open spaces of the earth; how,
although we may saddle them in arrogance, without their
strength and swiftness, we, as a species, may not have
survived; and how to mount a horse is to embark on a
journey of mastering not the horse, but oneself, and then
the world.

And when we lost you, Barbaro, who were the symbol of
courage, endurance, patience, and a desire to overcome, we
lost a being who, for a short time, became a bridge between
those of us who cannot imagine a world without horses and
those who, before you, had known nothing of them.

I will never forget you, Barbaro, as I will never forget
the images I have seen of the great Ruffian, and Go for
Wand, and Landaluce, and Pine Island, who were all taken
from us before their time. And I hope, if there are
stallion and broodmare bands in heaven, that you have them
all in yours.

The Champion

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