On May 17, the jockeys at Pimlico wore patches on their boots to honor Eight Belles. Each time the television networks showed a replay of Big Brown’s latest performance, the late runner’s image filled the frame. And when Buy the Barrel took the $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff Handicap (gr. II) (VIDEO
) for trainer Larry Jones and jockey Gabriel Saez, we were reminded of Eight Belles once again.
Just 14 days before sending Buy the Barrel to the DuPont on the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) undercard, Jones and Saez partnered to start her ill-fated stablemate in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Eight Belle’s subsequent breakdown on the gallop out in the May 3 race clouded the sweetness of their victory in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) with Proud Spell just one day earlier, so it was especially satisfying to see the trainer and jockey return in the DuPont with a victorious run from yet another classy filly.
“It’s very special to win on a big day of racing, especially to be paired back up with Gabriel," Jones said. "It’s bittersweet for us. It’s good to be back on the winning side, and everything worked out the way it’s supposed to."
A 4-year-old daughter of E Dubai, Buy the Barrel did not have the easiest of starts in the DuPont. She was bumped by Silver Knockers leaving the gate and broke last of eight runners, but she quickly recovered to settle three wide and three back behind a pace set by 5-2 favorite Bear Now. Silver Knockers about two lengths back between those two through a quarter in :24.21 and a half in :47.16.
That order remained unchanged while Bear Now led three-quarters in 1:10.34, but Saez switched Buy the Barrel to her left lead and the filly responded with an extra surge, rolling past the front-runner and holding off a late run from Lexi Star. She won by 2 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:42.43.
“I tried to stay behind the pace to the three-eighths pole and then make a move," Saez said. "She responded real good, obviously. It’s very exciting to win a race like this. This is right up there behind the Kentucky Oaks.”
Buy the Barrel returned $8, $4.80, and $3.20. Lexi Star brought $6.40 and $3.60 under Jeremy Rose, while Bear Now and Jamie Theriot paid $3.20. Peach Flambe, Cash’s Girl, Silver Knockers, Altesse, and Runaway Rosie completed the order of finish. Wow Me Free was scratched by trainer Kiaran McLaughlin to run in Belmont Park’s Shuvee Handicap (gr. II), in which she finished third under Alan Garcia.
A Hinkle Farms homebred from Kentucky out of the Drouilly mare Affordable Price, Buy the Barrel has won seven of 16 starts and has two runner-up efforts to her name. With earnings of $309,740, she counts a 5 3/4-length score in the April 9 Bayakoa Stakes and an 8 1/2-length win in the Jan. 26 Sam Houston Distaff Stakes among her victories this year.
"At 2, we thought we had a really promising candidate, but she just needed to be brought around slowly," Jones noted. "Thank goodness the owners knew that. Now she’s 4 and we hope she’s not even reached her peak yet. She’ll be going to the Delaware Handicap next.”