Nicanor Posts First Official Work

Photo of Nicanor galloping by Lydia Williams, 

On the morning of the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), a race his brother didn’t get to try in 2006, Roy and Gretchen Jackson’s Nicanor recorded his first published work at Fair Hill Training Center.

Trainer Michael Matz sent the brother of late 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Barbaro (Dynaformer-La Ville Rouge, by Carson City) through an easy three furlongs on the dirt track. Under assistant trainer Peter Brette, the 2-year-old colt clocked in :39 seconds flat, 16th best of 24 at the distance.

The best time for three furlongs that morning was :35.80, set by the unraced 2-year-old Desert Warrior filly Jerboa.  

When posting a first official work, trainers seek a solid effort from their starter. A young horse will not be asked for too much run, but will be "set down" to the task by the rider and given the opportunity to display innate talent. An initial official work is generally shorter (less taxing) and slower (undemanding), but the trainer is still hoping for a time that will not prove embarrassing to the horse or his connections.

In other words, Nicanor did just fine!  


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Maybe the next great blood bay hope?  So far,they appear jinked.  Would be nice to see this lovely colt develop into a useful race horse with longevity in his career.  Good luck to Nicanor and his connections.

08 Jun 2008 11:05 AM
needler in Virginia

A nice solid time for a young horse in training. Well done, Mr Brette. He looks comfortable and easy. After all, at this age, you're NOT looking to break a land speed record.

Lovely colt, isn't he??

Cheers and safe paths and luck to Nicanor and his connections.

08 Jun 2008 11:25 AM
Lisa in Colorado


08 Jun 2008 11:36 AM

Great job Nicanor...  That was a good work time for your first 3 furlong work.  The important thing here is not the time, but was he doing everything else that he is ask to do right.   As long as he's doing that, then the time will get better and better.

08 Jun 2008 12:08 PM

Nicanor is gorgeous-I wish only the best for him!!          Congrats on his first "official" work!

08 Jun 2008 12:09 PM

Wishing the best of luck to Nicanor and his connections! I definitely hope he will have a long and safe racing career!

08 Jun 2008 12:15 PM

Thanks for the news and the great photo!

08 Jun 2008 12:28 PM
Kath from SC

Go NICANOR!! Ya did good.

08 Jun 2008 12:36 PM

Hmm? All four feet off the ground? Looks like a chip off the old block.

Thank God for racehorses!

08 Jun 2008 12:48 PM
Peter's Fan Club

We missed seeing pictures of Peter - he is just as easy on the eyes ontop of Nicanor, as he was on Barbaro.

I know in the questions he said Nicanor is not accepting visitors - what if we just want to meet Peter?

08 Jun 2008 12:51 PM
Yvonne & Maurice Kirby

Make your brother proud!

08 Jun 2008 1:11 PM

Thank you so much for the picture and explanation of his first breeze.  Just love Nicanor.  Can we get some info on what Peter though about his effort?  It looks to me like Nicanor is taking everything very seriously and trying to do well.

08 Jun 2008 1:45 PM

Turf or All Weather is the only way to go on a REGULAR BASIS.  

Will Matz prtoect him with these surfaces?  Tha will be the question.

The first work being on dirt is a concern.

08 Jun 2008 1:55 PM

Congrats on your first official time.  So many people are praying for you and your connections.  You are soooo very loved.  God Bless You.

08 Jun 2008 2:13 PM

Best wishes Nicanor as you start your journey to fill those big horse shoes left to you.  

08 Jun 2008 3:10 PM

Slow, steady and sure wins the race everytime and I know that Michael & Peter will do what is right for Nicanor. If he crawled it would be good enough for me right now as he is still a baby in arms learning his craft. Watch out for him later.......

08 Jun 2008 4:50 PM

What a wonderful first try!!!

Keep up the good work!!!

You take our love and best wishes with you Nicanor....

08 Jun 2008 5:07 PM

What does "set down" to the task mean?

08 Jun 2008 5:51 PM

I've had Nic in my virtual stable for a couple of months now, just waiting for his 1st work. Isn't great to see our little boy on the track. Great Picture! I know the Jacksons must be thrilled.

08 Jun 2008 5:57 PM

Good job, Nicanor!!!! Stay safe, big boy! You've got plenty of time!

08 Jun 2008 8:51 PM

Do we dare dream that there will be a place for this prince-in-the- making in the Kentucky Derby?  If wishing only made it so.

08 Jun 2008 8:54 PM

just for fun (honestly not to compare, because there are so many factors in a first work) but do we know Barbaro's first 3f work out?  

08 Jun 2008 11:16 PM

Nice to see Nicanor making a name for himself!  Can't wait for his first race!!

09 Jun 2008 12:54 AM

Thanks for the picture and the update.  Off and running at last--he looks good. I wonder if Edgar Prado has had a chance to meet him yet.  It would be great to get some pix of that meeting. in the meantime, go get 'em, Nicky Knocks!

09 Jun 2008 1:08 AM


"Set down to the task" is a phrase we use to describe the point at which a rider actually asks the horse for effort rather than holding them in. In race riding, it would be the point where you see the jockey actually begin to move the horse on, whether by using the whip or loosening the reins, ect.

09 Jun 2008 1:56 AM

He is so beautiful and he has the sweetest face, and , per Peter, the sweetest personality.  I am hopelessly in love with this horse.  Go, Nicky!  Had a feeling yesterday the the TC would not happen -- waiting for our boy?  (One can hope...)

09 Jun 2008 5:40 AM

One more thought and a question:  If love could be converted to energy, Nicky would have a full tank.

Were the Jackson's present for this event? If so, what was their reaction?

09 Jun 2008 5:49 AM

Thank you for the update and explanations on Nicanor and training. He looks good! Wishing only the best for him. May he run well and run safe.

09 Jun 2008 6:59 AM
Padme (Lyn Gilbert)

I was at Fair Hill yesterday (6/8) and was able to chat with Michael Matz as he was leaving the track...I asked about Nicanor and he seemed very pleased with the workout. All in all, a great morning.!

Healing, Love, Peace


Padme (Lyn Gilbert)

09 Jun 2008 7:13 AM

Thanks Claire!

09 Jun 2008 8:13 AM

Great to see something positive - love the reporting on Nicanor - we'll all be anxious for his first race

09 Jun 2008 9:50 AM

Go Nicky, Go! I have loved you since birth and if you never even race I will love you xoxoxo

09 Jun 2008 10:18 AM
Karen, PA

Makes your heart soar !

Love seeing pictures of Peter on Nicanor -- brings back the positive feelings of hope and excitement that BARBARO gave us. Connects us with BARBARO in the happiest way.

Do your best Nicanor !  Have a great time Peter !

09 Jun 2008 11:55 AM

The next step in a young race horse's life! Look at those long legs....Thanks for the opportunity to not only learn about Nicanor, but this whole process of training a youngster. I'm grateful to everyone involved for this gracious opportunity.


09 Jun 2008 12:04 PM

he looks wonderful congrats on the first official work

i was very excited when i got the e mail saturday

09 Jun 2008 1:58 PM

Just found a photo of Peter aboard Barbaro that is a dead ringer for this one!

It's at and is entitled Barbaro's British Influence.

Amazing similarity.  Horse's feet in the same position and Peter's head down as it is in Nicky's

photo.  Wish we could get them side by side.


09 Jun 2008 3:03 PM

Good boy Nicanor, you look great in the picture!  Everyone is pulling for you, keep working hard and make your trainer, owner, and your big brother proud!

09 Jun 2008 3:18 PM

Wow, what a positive note after such a dissapointing Belmont. Nicanor is beautiful, just like his brother. I hope he does well. He is in great hands. Wouldn't that be something if the next triple crown winner was Barbaro's full brother??? I know, I know... dream big.. but, you never know...

09 Jun 2008 3:40 PM

Lovely first effort. I'm sure he is in great hands with this team. Thanks for the update. Can't wait to see him on the track under silks.(but please don't rush him for me!)

09 Jun 2008 4:43 PM

Its quite impressive how much he resembles Barbaro. Good luck Nicky!

09 Jun 2008 5:13 PM

Please keep  us up-to-date with his works...Pleeeeeeeeeeeeze

09 Jun 2008 6:12 PM

Remember people, he's a baby. He's going to grow a great more, get stronger and faster. He showed he has early speed but not too fast, after all we don't want a sprinter. Now does he have tactical speed to move into contention in a race and then will he have that closing kick like Barbaro. Lots to look forward to. Love that boy!  Thanks Claire. this site is the greatest. Dona

09 Jun 2008 6:19 PM

Nicanor looks like a great young man on the track.  You travel at your own pace buddy.  It's great to see news about you.  You are beautiful!!!  Go Baby Go.

09 Jun 2008 9:27 PM
Deb G.

Was able to find these workouts for Barbaro, however, he was 3 at the time.

04.29 Churchill Downs  4 furlongs (fast) 46:00 B 1/41

04.23 Keeneland 5 furlongs (fast) 1.01:40 B 3/8

03.27 Palm Meadows 4 furlongs (fast) 48.00 H 2/15

10 Jun 2008 10:21 AM

Wow I sure hope Nicanor or one of the others will follow Barbaro's hoofprints and pick up where he left off.

10 Jun 2008 1:34 PM
Janesville Liz

This is wonderful news. He is in the right hands--a good and thoughtful trainer and owners more concerned with the welfare of their horse than their own egos. Combined with some innate talent, hopefully Nicanor will make a nice name for himself on the track.

10 Jun 2008 1:36 PM

Very uplifting, and a beautiful photo. Nicanor will be loved no matter what his racing ability. Please keep him safe.

10 Jun 2008 2:17 PM

Yeah......Nicanor I wish all the best for you. Please keep the updates coming I do look forward to them.

10 Jun 2008 2:21 PM

I was able to print out the photo of Peter aboard Barbaro for a workout, on the website mentioned above, and I put it on the same sheet as my printout of this event.  Remarkable

likeness.  Nicanor is a lot like his brother, I bet and this is so exciting.  I've high hopes for Lentenor, as well.

10 Jun 2008 3:53 PM

Just like his big brother pure poetry in motion!

10 Jun 2008 4:00 PM

Way to go Little Boss Hoss, just like your brother BBH.

10 Jun 2008 4:23 PM
Kelly S

Okay, figured I could get over to this blog after you were nice enough to answer my question about Pyro! :)

You have done a beautiful job of making me feel like I am a part of Nicanor growing up.  I know the odds of him being a nice runner, much less a stakes winner, are high, but I will hope for the impossible.  Even if he ends up not being a competitive runner, he will remain just as special.  Anyone who fell in love with Barbaro cannot help but fall for his siblings.  It's just a tribute to how truly special Barbaro was.

10 Jun 2008 4:25 PM

If Deb's figures are correct and my computations are correct, Nicanor was only 1 second per furlong behind his big brother, who was a year older and had been racing.  No wonder Michael Matz was pleased!

10 Jun 2008 5:30 PM
kris fujimoto

Nicanor is so cute! He is God's work of art. Stay well and happy. He will be a future "rock star".

Kris from California

10 Jun 2008 8:12 PM
Cynthia Santovena


This is the top horse site in the world where all things equine are discussed.


11 Jun 2008 4:37 AM

After a year of tragic loses such as Eight Belles horse racing needs heros and inspiration and "Nicky" certainly fits the bill. He is in wonderful caring and loving hands.  

11 Jun 2008 11:06 AM

What a wonderful blog - it's great to be able to follow Barbaro's beautiful brother - lots of  hopes are riding with Nicanor - I know he will do his big brother proud!

11 Jun 2008 1:37 PM

Oh gracious he is beautiful! May the racing God smile down on you sweet boy!

11 Jun 2008 3:33 PM

Congratulations Nicanor and the very best of luck to you in your racing career!

11 Jun 2008 4:19 PM

Well done Nik. MM will take good care of you and your brother will always be by your side, always.

11 Jun 2008 7:55 PM

Is there anywhere we could watch the workout?  Like on YouTube or something???  Thanks for keeping us updated!  I think I have my Derby/Triple Crown pick for next year!

12 Jun 2008 8:40 AM

Hi Nicky,

When I gaze at your latest image, I see a beautiful horse that is galloping with grace and ease. I am not going to fathom how great you will be, but it does look like you enjoy the track.

12 Jun 2008 1:19 PM

Thank you, Claire, you are wonderful to bring this information to us eager fans of Nicanor.

Again, I'd really like to know what Peter thought and what the Jackson's thought about this first work.

We all love Nicky so much!

12 Jun 2008 2:54 PM

thank you so much for keeping us updated on Nicanor :) It sounds like he is doing great :)

14 Jun 2008 12:31 AM

Can't take my eyes off him.  What a beauty!

17 Jun 2008 6:07 PM

i luved barbaro so much, i cant believe these two bros, each have that little reminder of the horse we all loved,make your big bro. proud, boys!

04 Jul 2008 9:38 AM

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