It Happened Again and Doc's Friend, a pair of colts from the barn of Larry Jones who defeated older horses last time out, lead a full field of a dozen 3-year-olds in the $150,000 Barbaro Stakes (gr. III) July 19 at Delaware Park.
Each of the starters in the 1 1/16-mile contest will seek their first graded stakes win, although It Happened Again, Code of Honour, Our Edge, and Bunker Hill all have blacktype scores. Post time for the Barbaro, which comes two races prior to the $1 million Delaware Handicap (gr. II), is set for 4:36 p.m. EDT.
Jones has thought highly of It Happened Again ever since the son of Proud Citizen won the Triple Sec Stakes back in January at Delta Downs. The chestnut colt is winless in four stakes tries since then, but has scored a pair of optional claiming victories, including the two-turn race on July 5 at Delaware when beating stablemate Doc’s Friend by two lengths.
Bred in Kentucky by Dede McGehee and owned by Brereton Jones, It Happened Again is out of the Quiet American mare Quiet Lucky. He is 4-1-1 from 10 lifetime starts. Gabriel Saez has the mount on the 3-1 morning-line favorite.
Cottonwood Stables’ Doc’s Friend had won consecutive races at Delaware before the loss to It Happened Again, a race where he led into the stretch and was game to the finish. The son of Friends Lake—Copelans Mist, by Copelan, was unplaced in his only stakes try, but that came back in his 2-year-old campaign. Jones said he is a much different horse now.
“He has really picked up his game since getting back to Delaware Park, “ Jones said. “Doc’s Friend has got enough speed and he will be up close and kind of guarantee himself a good trip.
“They ran one-two against older horses last week. When a young horse can beat older horses that makes me feel really good about them. We have been real high on It Happened Again for a long time and Doc’s Friend has really become our now horse. It Happened Again will have to work one out, but hopefully if he gets a good trip, he will be good enough.”
Justin Shepherd will have the ride on Doc’s Friend (8-1).
Roberta LaPenta’s Our Edge (8-1) enters off a win in the Coronado’s Quest Stakes June 20 at Monmouth Park, a 1 1/16-mile race in which he went wire-to-wire on the slop. Prior to that, the son of The Cliff's Edge broke his maiden by nearly nine lengths in May at Delaware. Alan Garcia will ride for Nick Zito.
Others to watch for are Graham Motion trainee Sumo, the Sam Davis (gr. III) runner-up in February at Tampa Bay; Pitched Perfectly, the fifth-place finisher in the Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland in April; and Dumar, who won an optional claimer back in January at Fair Grounds for Steve Asmussen but has disappointed with five consecutive defeats.