Barbaro's Brother a Step Away from Derby
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Lentenor will face stakes company for the first time in the Florida Derby.
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Barbaro's full brother could be one strong run away from the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Lentenor   makes his stakes debut March 20 in the $750,000 Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park. A victory or second-place finish would give Lentenor enough graded-stakes earnings to run in the May 1 Kentucky Derby.

“We're at the point now where we want to give him a chance somewhere to see if he can qualify for the Kentucky Derby,'' trainer Michael Matz said. “The fact he worked well (March 15) with other horses and came out of it well went into the decision.''

Matz also trained Barbaro, the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner who broke down in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and was euthanized early in 2007 after succumbing to laminitis.

The Florida Derby is 1 1/8 miles and will be the first time Lentenor is running on dirt. The bay colt will face 10 others in the grade I race, including Rule, the 5-2 wagering favorite, and Radiohead, the 3-1 second choice.

“I definitely think he's the type of horse that can run in the bigger races,” Matz said. “It's just a matter of the timing and whether he gets enough experience to do this quick enough. That's the whole thing about it.”

Jockey Alan Garcia was aboard Lentenor during the March 15 workout and will ride the colt March 20.

“I really liked the way he went,” Garcia said. “He's a nice, big horse like his brother. I know a lot of people will be following him and watching him, so I'm very excited to be riding.”

Lentenor, whose big brother won the Florida Derby by a half-length as the favorite, has raced only four times. After finishing second in his debut Oct. 31 on Keeneland's synthetic surface, the colt ran three times on the turf, breaking his maiden Jan. 20 at Gulfstream. Barbaro and Lentenor were bred and owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson.

When asked about the public fascination with Barbaro, Matz said: “I think Barbaro was such a special horse that everybody cared about. He just caught the attention of the public.”

Lentenor is 6-1 on the morning line in a race in which seven of the 11 starters have won only one race.

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