Thoughts from Photographer Louise Reinagel



Editor's note: Photographer Louise E. Reinagel was asked to complete an exclusive photo shoot of Nicanor for Blood-Horse. Here, in her own words, are thoughts about the experience and the personality of Roy and Gretchen Jackson's developing son of Dynaformer. Remember, this picture and others like it are available at

"I’ve gone out on many occasions to photograph horses at Stephens Thoroughbreds. John and Jill are a very enjoyable couple, and from what I can tell it’s a real team effort – even with the employees, it’s more like a family.

"I did a photo shoot out there a couple of months ago and when I walked through the barn, I knew Nicanor was there, they pointed him out to me. He was snoozing in the stall and I watched him while they were getting my horse ready – and I looked again when I left, just observing him because of who he is, to see what I could see of him.

"I wanted to follow him and take pictures, but I respected the privacy of the farm so I never said anything. When Blood-Horse approached me about shooting him, it was very exciting because it was something I’d wanted to do. I couldn’t wait to follow him through a morning.

"They were ready for me when I got to the barn, and they knew it was a special morning because Nicanor was going to be photographed. He hadn’t become a celebrity as far as making him visually available to the public – he was only talked about  by everybody, I don’t think many pictures had been taken of him.

"When I photograph a subject, I normally control the circumstances. But in this case, the shoot was dictated by Nicanor and his routine. It was almost like there was a script – he had a specific rider (Gabrielle DeJesus) and a specific groom (Vicente Gordstieta) - and I just went where I could without interfering with him.

"I asked what his routine was, where to be at certain times, and went out ahead of time to figure out where he would be walking, how to get from his walking trail through the woods to the track before he would get there. It was fun; to access Nicanor is a dream for most.

"He’s getting fit, so he was a little bit on the muscle. They walked him out with the groom and he came out like he was supposed to, but I didn’t want to interfere with him. He was aware of me at all times, but I didn’t intimidate him. He was intent on what he was doing, and once he figured me out he paid me no mind.

"My favorite moment with him was when he came back off the track and John Stephens walked off the track with him because I’d asked him to get in the picture. He was speaking to the horse and the horse was cocking his head, being a little bit of handful for the rider coming off. It was almost like John was telling him to behave and he was talking back, like, “Who, me?” It was a great moment, the three were connected at same time, rider, trainer, horse, all one.

"This horse is a little bit different than your average Joe. He's very intelligent. He has a connection with everybody in the barn that works with him. He has a disposition that makes you want to know him.

"I’m not hyping this up; I’m not intrigued with the personality of a horse very often because rarely do they have an obvious personality. When he came into the barn, he was known as Barbaro’s brother. But I think he is known in the barn now as Nicanor and people are starting to respect him for who he is in his own right. He has his own personality and the people who work with him are very connected to him.

"He seems quite talented, and watching him he looks like a puppy that’s growing into himself. To see the difference from the first time until now, as he’s understanding what he’s supposed to do and able to do, is a treat.

"I have opportunity to photograph a lot of horses, and it’s a fistful, a small percentage, that have a personality like he does. I think maybe that’s what made Barbaro the heartthrob of the racing industry, and I think Nicanor could have the opportunity to do the same thing. He shows the personality, the intelligence, and everybody is going to want to follow him."

"When I was at Stephens, it was my honor to capture him for the public. My attempt was to reveal what the public wanted to see, and from looking at the responses on the blog, I think I accomplished that. Somebody posted early on about the shot where he’d been drinking water, that he looked so much like Barbaro. To me, that was a reward. For me to capture him in a way that the public pictured him was really special."



Leave a Comment:


Great story, Louise!  Thanks for letting us into the World of Nicanor, a special horse with his own special personality!  It sounds like he will be something special!

23 Apr 2008 6:25 PM

Thank you Louise for these great pics.

23 Apr 2008 6:26 PM
Kathy Kimber

First, last and always he is his own self.  Beautiful guy that he is, prince of the barn and yes Barbaro's brother.  Exciting to see him come of age.  He is going to do just fine.  Can hardly wait.  Thanks so much

23 Apr 2008 6:42 PM
Joanne McCulloch

Thank you so much for these lovely photos of Nicanor. You really captured his spirit as well as his beauty. He's got a very, very special Equine Angel watching over him, whispering to him from above. That's why I think he likes to *** his head....Big Bro is giving him some tips. Wonderful to see Nicanor. Joanne McCulloch, RN BSN

23 Apr 2008 7:16 PM

aw, nicky sounds so smart. i love keeping up with his progress. thanks for all the pics!

23 Apr 2008 7:19 PM

Thank you so much for helping us know more about Nicanor.  You are right, there are not many pics out there of him.  Some on Mill Ridge Farms site, but he has changed since then.  How lucky you are to have spent the day with such a handsome fella :)

23 Apr 2008 7:45 PM
Lisa in Colorado

Thank you for the beautiful pictures and the great story to go with them.  He does seem to have something special, and your pictures certainly capture that specialness.

23 Apr 2008 7:47 PM

WHAT an incredibly soulful and wise can tell from his photos the larger than life aspect of Nicanor...thank you so much for both the photos and your decription of his personality...WOW!

23 Apr 2008 9:23 PM

Excellent story! It's great fun for my whole family to read about Nicanor. We will be following his development as much as we can and wishing him a good and happy life, whether he becomes an actual racehorse or not.

23 Apr 2008 9:30 PM

I love the picture of the 3 of them.  You can see how much they all love each other.

You are correct in that it would be an absolute dream for me to see Nicanor live.  Thank you for sharing all of this info.

The picture on top is the best one of him yet.  I just love him.

23 Apr 2008 9:47 PM

Nicanor coming off the track appeared to be a very special moment caught on film. thanks from someone who loved his brother and that has great hope for him.

23 Apr 2008 10:22 PM

It sounds like Nicanor has grown up realizing a lot of eyes are on him, so he developped a personality.

23 Apr 2008 10:29 PM

You are truly blessed for being able to do what you do. Thank you for doing it so well, and sharing it with us.

23 Apr 2008 11:05 PM

Wow...I'm so excited about how he's developing. I'm just a little worried; he doesn't know he's anything special. Everybody's going to be putting a lot of pressure and hope on him.

23 Apr 2008 11:11 PM


How lucky you are to have been able to be around Nicanor.  I would give anything to be in his presence.  

Awesome picture and I hope you get the opportunity to capture his personality many more times.

24 Apr 2008 10:10 AM

Just a great story. How lucky you are to have the opportunity to be arond Nicanor and to photograph him

24 Apr 2008 12:37 PM


Thank you soo much!  As a longtime Nicanor fan, your story and pictures are precious!  Nicanor is so special, and I applaud everyone who has had a part in making him stunning, especially, Mr. and Mrs. jackson!

24 Apr 2008 1:49 PM

Any reports on Nicanor today? Did he graze? I am told he chows on greenery "like a good one."

24 Apr 2008 3:57 PM

Thank you Louise-your Nicanor photos are beautiful!!  I love hearing about his personality & the stories behind the photos!!  

25 Apr 2008 9:43 AM

So what is the story on the second brother.  There is another colt from the same breeding is what I have heard.  

26 Apr 2008 12:35 PM

Thank you!!!  He is such a beautiful boy!  Stay safe Nic!

26 Apr 2008 6:45 PM

thanks for the story and the pics he is a beautiful boy love the one of him after he drank water

26 Apr 2008 9:47 PM
CountFleet 43

Great Story--Great Pictures

Nicanor is a good looker.

We all wish him success & long life.

29 Apr 2008 10:43 AM

Louise/Blood-Horse, thank you for taking and making these pictures available. Louise,telling about your experience while taking them makes it very special. Brings tears to my eyes to remember Barbaro, and see Nicanor and learn about his neat personality. Nicanor is a very beautiful, strong made special colt. Good luck to the Nicanor team.

29 Apr 2008 12:11 PM

Louise Thank you for the nice pictures i have always wondered about Barbaros brother i knew there was one just couldn't get any information about him till now and he is a beautiful horse.  I Loved Barbaro and i know i will like his brother the same.

06 May 2008 4:40 PM

To all of you who have posted comments .... I have been moved again and again by your heartfelt comments. I share your love of horses. Blood Horse was thinking of you when they asked me to photo Nicanor... I considered the opportunity an honor ... and so, I thank YOU. God is indeed good.

06 May 2008 7:16 PM

After witnessing the horror at the Kentucky Derby, I am afraid for this beautiful horse. I have been a HUGE fan of racing over the years, but am now doubting the integrity of the sport. Let's hope things move in a positive direction for thoroughbred horse racing and breeding.

07 May 2008 12:14 AM

He is so gorgeous and you can see the intelligence in his eyes.  Have seen photos of young Lentenor and he is the same way.  What good genes the 3 brothers have inherited.  What absolutely beautiful animals they all are/were.  How much I still miss and mourn for Barbara, and now Eight Belles.  I do hope the Jacksons take their time with these young fellas.  I for one can't bear anymore tragedies.  These animals are magnificent and deserve long, healthy lives.

07 May 2008 4:25 PM

I, of course, meant Barbaro.

12 May 2008 3:24 PM
mary glynn

I have enjoyed the pics and stories i think that Larry Jones made a good point,He said that God reminded him that eight bells was not his filly but that she was gods and still is. I belive that we will see changes in the industry for the good.


18 May 2008 10:07 PM

The Mill Ridge website has a video of Lentenor, growing into a strong young horse.  A very beautiful one, also.

It is delightful and I watch it over and over and over.  He is very aware of he camera and does his thing with one eye on the camera.  He's a beauty as well and a BIG boy!  God Bless the Jacksons and all connected with these two beautiful youngsters, may they handle them with wisdom and great care.  How wonderful it is to be able to follow their development.

19 May 2008 1:45 AM

I don't know what it is about Barbaro and his brothers,but there is something majical in their faces...Almost holy...I miss Barbaro so much, Nicanor now fills that void, and I wait with baited breath, to see his progress.

12 Jun 2008 5:36 PM

He looks so much like Barbaro it makes me cry everytime i look at Nicanor so I hope he does good in racing. We love you Nicanor.

05 Sep 2008 1:53 PM

What a great article and stunning picture, of course, I think he looks like big brother: Barbaro

21 Feb 2009 10:27 AM

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